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Bifurcation of J-K as UTs constitutional tragedy, says Tewari

Congress member Msh Tewari said on Tuesday that the division of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories was a "constitutional tragedy" and that Article 370 cannot be repealed without consulting the now dissolved constituency assembly.
Bifurcation of J-K as UTs constitutional tragedy, says Tewari

Congress member Msh Tewari said on Tuesday that the division of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories was a "constitutional tragedy" and that Article 370 cannot be repealed without consulting the now dissolved constituency assembly.

Initiating the debate on Jammu and Kashmir Reorgsation Bill in the Lok Sabha, he said if Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad were part of India, it was due to decisions taken by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Tewari said that Jammu and Kashmir was being sought to be divided into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh against the usual practice of UTs being conferred with statehood.

"We have seen in 70 years that UTs are made states. This is perhaps the first time when a state is being converted into a union territory. There cannot be a bigger attack on the constitution," he said.

He recounted the history of the state and said Article 370 was part of constitutional adaptation process after the then ruler of state Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with India.

He said the Constitution clearly says that a recommendation of the state legislature is required before making a change in boundaries or in its status.

"The state Assembly is dissolved. In Parliament, you are deciding on the future of Jammu and Kashmir after consulting yourself. This is a constitutional tragedy," he said.

Answering a point made by a member, Tewari said that the UPA government had consulted Andhra Pradesh before bifurcating the state.

Tewari said apart from Article 370, which gives special provisions to Jammu and Kashmir, there were special provisions in regard to other states including Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern states.

"What kind of constitutional precedent are you setting?" he asked.

Tewari said Nehru sent forces to Kashmir after the ruler signed the instrument of accession and also to Hyderabad after reports of accumulation of arms by the forces of Nizam.

"If they are an integral part of India, it is due to Jawaharlal Nehru," he said.

Home Minister Amit Shah said Tewari should make it clear if Congress is in favour of repealing Article 370 or not.

Tewari said not everything is black and white and Article 370 cannot be repealed without consulting the constituent Assembly.

Earlier, Shah also moved a resolution for repealing the provision in Article 370 which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

( With inputs from ANI )

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