Oppn targets govt on JK Bill

Rahul Gandhi accuses BJP of abusing its power to "tear apart" Jammu and Kashmir. (PTI Photo)

Opposition targeted the government inside and outside Parliament on its Kashmir move and detention of leaders there, with its leader Rahul Gandhi accusing the BJP of abusing its power to "tear apart" Jammu and Kashmir.

Amid the division within Congress over the move coming to fore with a section of leaders questioning its opposition to scrapping special status for Jammu and Kashmir, Rahul tweeted, "national integration isn't furthered by unilaterally tearing apart J&K, 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."

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e added that jailing of Kashmir’s mainstream political leaders was "unconstitutional and undemocratic... short-sighted and foolish" because it will allow terrorists to fill the leadership vacuum created by the government.

In Lok Sabha where the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh was discussed and later passed, Opposition MPs questioned the government for not consulting "stakeholders" before taking a decision.

Congress' Manish Tewari said the government cannot change the boundaries of the state without consulting the Jammu and Kashmir assembly. "This is a travesty of the Constitution," Tewari said adding, "What message are you sending out? Are you going to abrogate Article 371 (providing special status to certain states)?"

He said this is happening for the first time that a state is being turned into a Union Territory. Usually, he said, government bifurcates states to create a new state. "There cannot be a bigger assault on federal structure than this," he said.

DMK's T R Baalu said by splitting the state into two Union Territories, two "municipalities" are being created and they would be looked into by two joint secretaries.

"This bill does not reflect the will of the people. You could have done this when Assembly was in place. You are not consulting state legislature. Only by virtue of brute majority, bills are being passed every day... What is the end result? What are you going to achieve?" Baalu said.

He warned that “more complications” would arise, as security problems have not been solved. “You are just pushing your manifesto,” he added.

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