‘Totally unconstitutional’: Amarinder Singh on scrapping of Article 370

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described on Monday the Centres move of revoking Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir as totally unconstitutional and said such a decision should not have been pushed through in an arbitrary manner. He flayed the manner in which the Centre imposed the decision, saying the democratic fabric of the nation has been ripped apart with this unprecedented violation of the Constitutional norms. It is a dark day for the Indian democracy, Amarinder said, adding that the Constitution of India has been rewritten without following any legal provisions. This will set a bad precedent as it would mean that the Centre could reorganise any state in the country by simply imposing Presidents rule, the chief minister said in a statement here. The Constitutional provisions has been abused as never before, he added. Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha to abolish Article 370 after the President issued a notification and also moved a bill to divide the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The chief minister said none of the stakeholders were taken into confidence, and there was no discussion with other political parties preceding the unilateral decision of the central government. The BJP is using its brute majority to bulldoze democratic and Constitutional norms, he said. No effort was made to evolve a consensus on this vital matter of national security and concern, said Amarinder, asserting that given the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue, any decision should have been taken after following due process of democratic and legal norms. Even the Presidential order reorganising Jammu and Kashmir and scrapping Article 370 had effectively bypassed the parliamentary requirement for a two-thirds majority through a constitutional amendment, he pointed out. The government, said the chief minister, has made a total mockery of the Constitutional and democratic foundations of the nation. Dubbing the Centres act of putting political leaders in Kashmir under house arrest ahead of the announcement as despotic, Amarinder said the voice of the people had been completely suppressed, which could have serious negative repercussions for India.