Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba, Cong. react angrily to Govt’s decision on J&K
New Delhi, Aug. 5 (PTI): Former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on Monday reacted angrily to the Centre scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution providing special status to the state and bifurcating it, saying the “disastrous” move may lead to “catastrophic consequences”.
Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Ram Madhav and several other BJP leaders, however, welcomed the Union government’s decision calling it a “bold and historic” move towards national integration.
In sharp reactions, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that the government has wiped out Jammu and Kashmir’s identity while former Home Minister P Chidambaram termed the day as a “black day” in India’s history.
“Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy. Decision of J&K leadership to reject two-nation theory in 1947 and 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,” Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
She said the decision will have “catastrophic consequences” for the subcontinent and alleged that India has failed Kashmir in keeping its promises.
Terming the government’s move “unilateral and shocking”, Abdullah said it was a total “betrayal of trust” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Government of India (GoI)’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had reposed in India when the state acceded to it in 1947,” he said.
“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,” Abdullah added.
He accused the Centre of resorting to “deceit and stealth” in recent weeks to lay the ground for these “disastrous decisions”.
“Our darkest apprehensions have unfortunately come true after the GoI and its representatives in J&K lied to us that nothing major was planned,” he said.
On his part, Jaitley complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shah, saying “a historical wrong has been undone today. Article 35A came through the back door without following the procedure under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. It had to go.”
“The decision of the government will help the people of Jammu and Kashmir the most. More investment, more industry, more private educational institutions, more jobs and more revenue will come,” he said.
In a tweet, Swaraj described the government’s decision as “bold and historic”. “We salute our Great India – one India,” she added.
BJP leader Ram Madhav too hailed the government’s decision and said the martyrdom of the party’s idealogue Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee for complete integration of the state has been “honoured”.
The national general secretary and the party’s points person for the state said that the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir was a longstanding demand of the nation.
“What a glorious day. Finally the martyrdom of thousands starting with Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee for complete integration of J&K into Indian Union is being honoured and the seven decade old demand of the entire nation being realised in front of our eyes; in our lifetime. Ever imagined?” he tweeted.
Congress’ Azad said all secular parties of the country will remain united to stand with people of Jammu and Kashmir and fight against the “unilateral” deicison.
Former interlocutors question Centre’s move without holding consultations
Two former interlocutors of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday questioned the Centre’s move to revoke Article 370 without holding consultations with all stakeholders.
Radha Kumar, who was named an interlocutor by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and assigned to hold sustained dialogue with all sections of people in Jammu and Kashmir, said, “In all my years, I have not seen such a blatant assault on the norms and principles of our democracy. Even emergency had some constitutional cover.”
“This announcement is a major constitutional announcement. How do you make such an announcement without it being in the public domain or legislative domain, without debate or discussion, without an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir, without a legislature that was consulted,” Kumar told a news channel.
MM Ansari, another interlocutor who was appointed with Kumar to hold a dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir, said changing status quo of Jammu and Kashmir will require democratic consultations with all the stakeholders, especially mainstream political parties.
He said there is a need to preserve the diversity and pluralism of the country and it is time to give more power to people of the state and not take it away.
The government on Monday revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The abolition of Article 370 will “completely integrate” the state with the Indian Union like other princely states in 1950 and its residents will enjoy equal rights like other citizens, officials said on Monday.
With the abrogation of Article 370, Article 35A will automatically become void, thereby annulling the special status enjoyed by the residents over land, business and employment, they said.
The decision will also allow any individual, business or NGO, that operates as per the law of the land, to freely operate, under the same rules of business, in the new union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.