New Delhi, Aug 5 : As members of the treasury benches clapped and gave a standing ovation to Home Minister Amit Shah when he entered the Rajya Sabha, it became amply clear that the Modi government had decided to axe Article 370 of the Constitution that gives Jammu and Kashmir special status.
When Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu told the members that he had given special permission to the Home Minister to move a resolution and bills related to Jammu and Kashmir, it was a clear indication what lay behind the major military build up in the state.
Minutes later, Shah proposed scrapping provisions that allowed Jammu and Kashmir a special status among all Indian states.
This triggered a massive uproar from the Congress and other parties over the manner in which the resolutions had been brought.
Two PDP members, Nazir Ahmad Laway and Mir Mohammad Fayaz, were very agitated. They were immediately removed from the House by marshals on orders from the Chairman.
Opposing the bills introduced by Amit Shah, Fayaz tore his own kurta while Nazir Ahmad tore up the Indian constitution.
The din continued even as the Chair repeatedly appealed members to allow the House to function. Members of many parties including Congress, TMC, PDP, CPI and regional parties staged a sit-in protest in the well of the House.
Even as the uproar continued, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad condemned the tearing up of the Constitution, saying "We stand by the Indian Constitution. We will sacrifice our lives for protecting the Constitution." After proposing to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir by removing the controversial Article 370, Amit Shah quoted Article 370 (3) of the Constitution to assert that the President of India can make the Article 370 inoperative under this provision.
"This morning, a Presidential notification, a Constitutional order, has come under which the Honourable President has said that constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir means Jammu and Kashmir assembly. Because there is no constituent assembly today, the rights of it is vested in the assembly of J&K assembly. As there is President Rule in the state at this time, the rights of J&K assembly is vested in the two Houses of Parliament," the Minister said in the Rajya Sabha.
"We can pass the Presidential order unanimously. This has not happened for the first time. In 1952 and 1962, the Congress had amended the Article 370 using the same provision. We have followed the same route," Shah said.
As per the proposed legislation, the government has decided to bifurcate the state into two Union territories - Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh which will not have any Assembly.