Scrapping of Article 370: A black day for democracy, says Opposition

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 05, 2019 Published on August 05, 2019

Congress leader P Chidambaram   -  Prashant Waydande

Congress calls the resolution a ‘fatal legal blunder’; but AAP, BSP vote in favour of move while TMC abstains

Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Home Minister P Chidambaram led the Opposition’s tirade against the Centre’s move to scarp Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir. Azad, also a former Chief Minister of J&K, explained how Article 370 helped in the integration of Kashmir into the Union of India. Chidambaram, meanwhile, asked the Centre to explain why the State was bifurcated to scrap Article 370.

The Opposition, however, could not guard its own flock as parties such as AAP and BSP voted in favour of the Bill and the Trinamool Congress abstained from voting. The Opposition won just 65 votes against 125 votes won by the ruling party.

Never had he imagined Kashmir’s head would be chopped off one day, said Azad. “You have made light of the State of J&K,” he said. “It will be a black spot on India’s history. The way an atom bomb explodes, such an explosion took place in the House today when the Home Minister arrived. Will you break and ruin the Old India to create a New India?”

Consent of State

He said the Centre is scrapping Article 370 and Article 35A without taking the State’s consent. “The people of the State stood by the country’s security forces and did not choose Pakistan despite it having the same religion. Instead, they accepted the secularism of India. Today, you have again laid the foundation to disintegrate. Integration does not take place through legislation, its happens from the heart,” Azad said.

‘Cardinal blunder’

Chidambaram termed the move a “cardinal blunder” and “fatal legal error”. “Momentarily you may think you have scored a victory...drum beats on streets may force you to think that you have corrected a so-called injustice but ...future generations will realise what a grave mistake this House is making today,” he said. “I know it was your manifesto promise but in repealing A370 you are unleashing forces which you cannot control,” he added.

He said the overwhelming majority in the State want more autonomy and not cessation from India. “I genuinely fear you are pushing thousands and thousands of young men from this column to 100 others by dismembering the State,” he warned. “Stop, pause, reflect on what you are doing. Don’t dismember Jammu & Kashmir ...Don’t do that in the name of people of India.”

MNC onslaught

Tiruchi Siva of the DMK said the Centre should have taken the consent of the J&K Assembly before bringing in the resolution. “The architects of the Constitution had given powers in this regard to the State Assembly only, and the Central government has made this move when the elected Assembly is not in place,” he said. “MNCs will take over and it won’t be the land of Kashmiris any more,” he added. TK Rangarajan of the CPI(M) urged the Centre to hold consultations with people.

MDMK supremo Vaiko said the move will lead to Kashmir becoming “like Kosovo, South Sudan and East Taimur” in future. “That apart, the UN and the countries which are against India might use this issue to ‘interfere’ in Kashmir affairs. There are enemies to India. They will use this card,” he warned.

Published on August 05, 2019
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