Article 370 revoked, Parliament decides: Amit Shah stresses on no talks with Hurriyat; Narendra Modi congratulates 'Amit Bhai' for passage of bills

  • Calling Article 370 a threat to India’s unity, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that Jammu and Kashmir will be returned to statehood when normalcy is restored

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 was passed by the Lower House with 370 votes in favour of it and 70 votes against it

  • Congress’ Shashi Tharoor called it a black day, owing to the house arrest of Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah

Calling Article 370 a threat to India’s unity, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that Jammu and Kashmir will be returned to statehood when normalcy is restored in the region. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, was passed by the Lower House with 370 votes in favour of it and 70 votes against it.

During the discussion on the Bill, Shah said that Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are part of Jammu and Kashmir adding that "we are ready to give our lives for it".

"Ladakh including Aksai Chin will be a Union Territory, Both Hill Councils will continue to be active," he said, before moving a resolution for revoking provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019. Aksai Chin is a vast area in Ladakh which is currently under Chinese occupation.

 Article 370 revoked, Parliament decides: Amit Shah stresses on no talks with Hurriyat; Narendra Modi congratulates Amit Bhai for passage of bills

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Home Minister Amit Shah after Lok Sabha approved the abrogation of special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. PTI

During the discussion on the Bill which the BJP chief said it will be “written in the pages of history in golden letters”, Shah also mentioned a Constitutional Order signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday which ordered application of all provisions of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, which also meant the removal of Article 35A.

The government was also accused of not consulting "stakeholders" in decision making. Shah has ruled out any talks with the separatist Hurriyat Conference and declared that India will continue to claim the territories of Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin.

Hailing the passage of the Bill in Parliament (Rajya Sabha cleared it on Monday), Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Shah and hailed it as a "momentous occasion in our Parliamentary democracy." In a series of tweets, Modi congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and Shah for the passage of the bill.

The Bills pertaining to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh will ensure integration and empowerment. These steps will bring the youth into the mainstream and give them innumerable opportunities to showcase their skills and talents. Local infrastructure will significantly improve.

Special congratulations to the people of Ladakh! It is a matter of great joy that their long-standing demand of being declared a Union Territory has been fulfilled. This decision will give impetus to the overall prosperity of the region and ensure better developmental facilities.

Rejecting Opposition claim that the Bill aims to violate the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. "Kashmir is an integral part of India, let there be no doubt about it. When I talk of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it. Don’t you consider PoK a part of Jammu and Kashmir?… I will give my life for it… We are ready to give our lives… As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, the Parliament of this country has the full right to bring any law or programme for it. No one can stop it from doing so."

The Lower House saw a heated debate on the matter, with Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demanding to know if Kashmir is an internal or external matter, a remark that invited stark opposition from the treasury benches.

"You say it is an internal matter. The UN has been monitoring the situation since 1948. Then there is the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. Is this a bilateral matter or an internal matter," Chowdhury asked, to which Shah replied that the concerned legislations are legally and constitutionally sound.

Calling the government’s move a “constitutional travesty”, Congress’ Manish Tewari hit out at the dilution of Jammu and Kashmir’s status from a state to a Union Territory. "Without the approval of the Constituent Assembly, you cannot do this. This is a wrong interpretation of the Constitution," he said.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who was present at the Lok Sabha when the discussion was underway, tweeted on Tuesday, "National integration isn’t furthered by unilaterally tearing apart Jammu and Kashmir, imprisoning elected representatives and violating our Constitution. This nation is made by its people, not plots of land. This abuse of executive power has grave implications for our national security". Rahul was criticised for a reacting a day late.

Calling the government's move a breach of constitutional promises, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi accused the Centre of being "willing to speak to Nagas who are asking for separate oil and gas and much more but not Kashmiris." "When can he buy agricultural land in Himachal Pradesh? When can I go to Lakshadweep without a permit? What will happen on Eid on Monday?" he asked.

Congress' Shashi Tharoor called it a 'black day', owing to the house arrest former chief ministers of the state — Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah.

“We all remember the last time the prime minister unleashed a decision to the nation which was also initially applauded for his decisiveness, just like today and that was the disaster of demonetisation. The nation is still dealing with the devastating consequences of that action,” he said.

Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav asked about the status of Nagaland and Mizoram. “If Kashmir is a heaven, why did you send so many troops ahead of this Bill," he further questioned. The BJP did not get the support of ally JD(U) in its move to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir's special status. Party leader Rajiv Ranjan said, "You should not have touched on this controversial issue," following JD(U) members walking out of the House.

Trinamool Congress walked out of the House with leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay expressing support for the reservation bill but opposing the motion on Article 370 and the J&K Reorganisation Bill.

The Lok Sabha also witnessed an uproar over the arrest of state leaders, including the alleged house arrest of National Conference member and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah. Former CM and People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti and NC leader Omar Abdullah were also arrested yesterday.

DMK members TR Baalu and Dayanidhi Maran questioned the absence of Farooq Abdullah from the House. Nationalist Congress Party’s Supriya Sule too questioned the leader’s absence, adding that his voice is not being heard and questioned if it was really his health that was the reason behind him giving the proceedings a miss. To this, Shah said, “He is neither under detention nor under arrest. He is at his home on his own will.”

Talking to reporters from his residence where he is allegedly under house arrest, Farooq Abdullah said, “As soon as the gate will open and our people will be out, we will fight, we'll go to the court. We're not gun-runners, grenade-throwers, stone-throwers, we believe in peaceful resolutions. They want to murder us. My son (Omar Abdullah) is in jail.”

He further asked, "Why would I stay inside my house on my own will when my state is being burnt, when my people are being executed in jails? This is not the India I believe in."

Among the few voices from Jammu and Kashmir in the House were those of PDP MP Mir Fayaz and NC lawmaker Hasnain Masoodi. Masoodi said the government has lost the trust of 1.5 crore people. "Kashmir acceded with a promise that a plebiscite will be conducted. That never happened,” he said, calling the abrogation illegal. Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said the Parliament represents 130 crore people, the “biggest stakeholders” while accusing first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru of violating the collective responsibility of the Cabinet. "We don't understand why Congress has a contention with this move considering we are only completing what they had failed to. Nehru had himself said that Article 370 was temporary. And after 70 years we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves. If  Nehru had allowed his Home Ministry to deal with Jammu and Kashmir as he had done with other states this wouldn't have happened," he said. YSR Congress’ Raghurama Krishnam Raju, Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant and BJD’s Pinaki Mishra supported the resolutions, adding that a historic error has been rectified. Telugu Desam Party MP Jayadev Galla supported the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India, propagating “one nation with one flag and one Constitution”. Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal’s speech earned Modi's applause. The BJP MP said that the people of Ladakh wanted the status of Union Territory for seven decades now. “We had earlier said that we (Ladakh) should not be kept with Jammu and Kashmir but they did not hear. UPA gave Kashmir a central university in 2011, Jammu fought and took a central university. We demanded a central university in Ladakh, but we didn't get any. But it was PM Modi who gave us a university." Calling Namgyals speech 'outstanding', Modi tweeted:

While Shah repeatedly clarified that Farooq has neither ben detained or arrested, he said, “Government is not interested in talking to those people in Jammu and Kashmir who get directions from across the border. Article 370 has done injustice to minorities by not accepting minority there.”

Rebutting Owaisi’s objections to the Bill, Shah said the Centre will be rectifying a historical mistake. “It was said that the removal of Article 370 was a communal agenda. Do Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs not live in Jammu and Kashmir? Not forming minority commission there due to Article 370 is an injustice to minorities. More than 41 thousand people died due to this provision. Should we still follow this path?” the Union Minister said.

Responding to Tharoor, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that if there is a ban on hoisting the Tricolour in Jammu and Kashmir under the provisions of Article 370, it should be removed. "I remember a very famous cartoon when the Emergency was imposed. The honourable president was having a bath and he said ‘at least spare me to take my bath, don't bring ordinance at this moment (in the cartoon)’. We didn't do anything like that," he said, adding that 106 provisions, like the Prevention of Corruption Act, will be implemented in the state.

The government on Monday revoked some provisions of the Article 370 to take away Jammu and Kashmir's special status, and proposed the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — a bold and far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy movement. Shah said that the UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have an Assembly with a chief minister and MLAs. The Rajya Sabha had passed the J&K Reorganisation Bill as well J&K Reservation Bill on Monday while also clearing the resolution to revoke sections of Article 370. In Lok Sabha, Shah, however, withdrew the J&K Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill after the J&K Reorganisation Bill was passed by the Parliament Tuesday.

On Monday, the Rajya Sabha had cleared the J&K Reorganisation Bill with 125 votes in favour, 61 opposed and one abstention. Opposition BSP, BJD, AIADMK, TDP, AAP and YSR Congress had voted in favour of the Bill. NDA partner JD(U) staged a walkout as did the TMC. Two PDP members were evicted on Monday after one of them tore a copy of the Constitution, and the other his shirt. Fayaz, who blamed the government for turning the state into an “open-air prison” had torn a copy of the Constitution of India in protest against the repeal of Article 370.

The Rajya Sabha also passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019 and National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019. According to CNN-News18, the first prohibitory orders in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be lifted by Friday.

In neighbouring Pakistan, a joint sitting of its parliament called to discuss the country's future course of action after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status, was adjourned on Tuesday following differences between the treasury and the Opposition over the language of a resolution against India. The joint session of upper and lower houses was summoned by President Arif Alvi on Monday after the Indian government revoked Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

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Updated Date: Aug 07, 2019 08:06:00 IST