NEW DELHI: It is not a political move to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcating the state into two union territories, Home Minister Amit Shah said today as he made a statement in the Lok Sabha, a day after the decisions were cleared in the Rajya Sabha.
“This is not a political move… Parliament has full powers to make laws for the entire country…. The constitution of India and the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir both allow for this to be done,” Amit Shah said as Congress members interrupted him with their protests.
“Kashmir is an integral part of India. I want to make it absolutely clear that every single time we say Jammu and Kashmir, it includes Pak-Occupied Kashmir (including Gilgit-Baltistan) as well as Aksai Chin. Let there be no doubt over it. Entire Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India,” the Home Minister said.
As Congress members shouted at him, Amit Shah hit back: “Kashmir ki seema mein PoK bhi aata hai…Jaan de denge iske liye! (PoK also falls within Kashmir. We will give up our lives for it).”
On Monday, the bill to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories cruised through the Rajya Sabha, where the government is short of a majority, with several opposition parties walking out and others siding with the government, like Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress, N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.
The Congress was among the opposition parties who argued against the move even though some of its leaders appeared to contradict the party line and support the government’s decision outside parliament.
This morning, as Congress lawmakers met with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to firm up the party line and present a united front, they were told to oppose the move. Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, asked whether the party should support or oppose the move, reportedly said: “We will oppose it and our opposition is based on the manner in which the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the state assembly, have not been consulted.”