BJP murdered democracy: Indian opposition responds to Article 370 scrapping

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday signed an order revoking the special status granted to Indian-occupied Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution — a move heatedly opposed by the majority of the opposition.

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Ghulam Nabi Azad, a senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha — the upper house of India’s parliament — in his speech on the floor said: “We [Congress] stand by the Constitution of India. We will do anything to protect the constitution.”

“But today, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has murdered the constitution. It has murdered democracy,” he stated.

“You have played with the sentiments of people of Kashmir. When additional army personnel were deployed there, I was worried. Kashmir should not become Kosovo, East Timor and South Sudan. I am opposing this bill [Article 370]. This is a day of shame, shame, shame […] this is murder of democracy,” he said to media.

Leader of India’s leading Communist party Politburo Kavita Krishnan termed the order as a “coup” in a tweet and called for a protest in New Delhi.

“Presidential order on is Modi govt coup against constitution. Demonetisation was no solution to black money — this coup is no solution for Kashmir. Emergency’s midnight knock has reached Kashmir — will soon reach the whole of India. Joint protest at 3pm, Jantar Mantar today.”

According to the Hindustan Times, India’s former attorney general Soli Sorabjee said the presidential order to repeal Article 370 was “not a wise decision”.

“I don’t think there is anything revolutionary here. It’s a political decision even though it is not a wise decision.”

Indian Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has termed the revocation of Article 370 as “totally unconstitutional”, criticising the manner in which New Delhi acted, Indian media reported.

“The Constitution of India has been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner,” he said in a statement.

“This will set a bad precedent as it would mean that the Centre could reorganise any state in the country by simply imposing President’s rule,” ThePrint.in quoted Singh as saying.

Singh also prohibited any kind of celebrations or protests in the state on the grounds that that may create disharmony.

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