J&K leaders slam scrapping Art 370; Delhi CM Kejriwal welcomes it

Chennai: As the entire nation today cheered and supported the Narendra Modi government’s bold move to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir, a section of Opposition leaders, especially those from J&K, criticised it.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti tweeted saying that today marked the darkest day in Indian democracy.

‘Decision of J&K leadership to reject 2 nation theory in 1947 & align with India has backfired. Unilateral decision of GoI to scrap Article 370 is illegal & unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K,’ she tweeted.

‘It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent. GOI’s intentions are clear. They want the territory of J&K by terrorising its people. India has failed Kashmir in keeping its promises,’ she added.

Terming the government’s move on Article 370 ‘unilateral and shocking’, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was a total ‘betrayal of trust’ of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

‘Government of India’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the State acceded to it in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the State as had been warned by an all-parties meeting in Srinagar yesterday.’

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal said his party supports the Centre’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir. Kejriwal’s comments come hours after Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in both Houses of Parliament that Article 370 would not be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

‘We hope this will bring peace and development in the State,’ tweeted Kejriwal.

Amit Shah moved the resolution on Article 370 as also the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 amid massive uproar by opposition parties. He informed the House that President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the official notification abrogating Article 370.

As soon as Shah made the announcement, members of the Congress, TMC and DMK squatted on the floor of the House: one of the PDP members tore his clothes and then along with another PDP member, tore copies of the Constitution, prompting Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to order that they be physically removed.

Shah, who received a standing ovation from his party colleagues when he entered the House minutes before proceedings in the Rajya Sabha commenced, termed the move as ‘historical’, saying Article 370 has not allowed integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the country.

Shah said Article 370 will no longer be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

When the House met, Venkaiah said he had used his discretionary powers to waive the requirement of the government to give advance notice and circulate a bill as the issue was of urgent national importance.

Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the entire Kashmir Valley is under curfew and three former chief ministers of the State and political leaders have been placed under house arrest. He wanted the situation to be discussed first but Venkaiah allowed Shah to move the resolution.

Shah moved the resolution to abolish Article 370 as well as the State Rreorganisation Bill along with listed bills to extend reservation for economically weaker sections in educational institutions and government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. The reorganisation bill provides for formation of Union Territory of Ladakh without legislature and a separate one for Jammu and Kashmir with legislature.

While Venkaiah said only the bill for providing reservation was being moved now and the other would be done after the copies are circulated to the members, the House in a voice vote approved the introduction.

Later, the Chairman allowed Shah to re-introduce the resolution and the reorganisation bill, saying copies have now been circulated to the members.

But it was not put to vote and it was not immediately clear if the voice vote taken earlier was for all bills and resolution or only for the bill for reservation.

Shah had moved the resolution and the bills together. But the introduction was opposed by the Congress, TMC and DMK members who along with leaders in the House rushed to the well.

(With agency inputs)

NT Bureau