Rahul breaks silence, attacks move on J&K - GulfToday

Rahul breaks silence, attacks move on J&K


Rahul Gandhi. File

Resmi Sivaram

Breaking his 24-hour silence, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the “abuse of executive power” in Jammu-Kashmir by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The move would have grave implications for India’s national security,” he said.

“This nation is made by its people, not plots of land,” he tweeted, spelling out what the party line would be going forward.

“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,” he said.

But the Congress looked deeply divided on the issue as a number of leaders supported the government.

Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday lost its special status and was bifurcated.

The Parliament approved a resolution ending applicability of Article 370 of the Constitution to the state and passed a bill to create two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

After the bifurcation, Jammu and Kashmir will now be a Union Territory with an Assembly, which Home Minister Amit Shah was a “temporary” measure and full statehood could be restored after normalcy returns there.

The Bill, providing for bifurcation, was passed with over 350 members voting in its favour, a day after the Rajya Sabha approved the legislation.

On Tuesday, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, incurred the wrath of Sonia Gandhi for saying that Kashmir is not an internal issue of the country.

He said: “You say that it is an internal matter. But it is being monitored since 1948 by the UN. Is that an internal matter? We signed the Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. Was that an internal matter or bilateral.”

Home Minister Amit Shah, who clashed head-on with Chowdhury, asserted that Pakistan part of Kashmir and Aksai Chin are part of Jammu and Kashmir and that Kashmir Valley is an integral part of the country. Sonia is known to have conveyed her displeasure to Chowdhury.  In television visuals, as Chowdhury is speaking, Sonia is seen looking towards Rahul Gandhi as if she wanted to know “what’s going on, what is he saying?” The alleged arrest of Jammu Kashmir’s National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah raised a storm in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, even as Amit Shah tabled a resolution to abrogate Article 370, which gives special rights to the state.

The resolution was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. In the Lok Sabha, during a heated exchange with Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Amit Shah said he was “ready to die for Kashmir.”

Members from opposition benches queried about the absence of Abdullah, the MP from Srinagar. Shah said: “He’s at his home out of his own free will. The government can’t bring him out on gunpoint.”

Abdullah called it a lie. Emotional, he said he was arrested in his own house and no else was allowed to meet him in the last two days.

“Whatever the Home Minister claims about my absence is a complete lie. It is baseless. I am totally jailed. They have stationed a DSP outside my house. I can’t even visit my daughter who lives a few metres away.

There is a lock outside her door,” he said, breaking down on camera while speaking to a national television channel.

Abdullah said there was complete curtailment of movement in Kashmir as he described the Centre’s move on Article 370 via a presidential decree as a “robbery.”

“This is absolute dictatorship,” he said, as he called the government actions “undemocratic” and a betrayal of the secular and democratic principles that had made Kashmir align with India.

“For them, all Muslims are separatists. Is this what we deserve? I have never thought of this… not even in my wildest dream,” he said.

Indian Union Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty said of Abdullah’s detention: “You’re declaring war on Indian citizens. You will be sorry about this. You are misinterpreting history.”

Meanwhile a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the Presidential Order on Article 370 which revokes the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir. Advocate ML Sharma claimed that the Presidential Order was “illegal” as it was passed without taking consent from the state Assembly.

Related articles