On Monday, as the BJP government introduced multiple proposals concerning Jammu and Kashmir, in the midst of a lock-down in the state, two vociferous voices in the Rajya Sabha questioned the constitutional validity of the move. MDMK Chief Vaiko and DMK leader Tiruchy Siva, both Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu, stood up in the upper house, the former to tear into the Congress and the latter to question the ruling government.
The government introduced its proposal to revoke 370(1) that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and 35(A)of the Constitution which allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to state who are permanent residents of the state. In addition to this, Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a Bill to give the status of a Union Territory to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. And while the AIADMK expressed its support for the bill, the MDMK and DMK opposed it. An angry Vaiko questioned past policies on Kashmir, even as a logical and calm Siva asked what this meant for the future of other states.
Vaiko's prime point of contention was that the plebiscite promised by Jawaharlal Nehru in Kashmir, was never carried out.
'Congress killed democracy'
"I bow my head to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru but the promise was not kept about the plebiscite. Here what has happened further? You said individuality will be protected by article 370 and 35 (A)," he thundered. "All these years, you killed democracy, Congress party. When Farooq Abdullah was having tea in the morning, he came to know his government was dismissed. I told my friend Farooq Abdullah, 'you forget the advice given by your great father Sheikh Abdullah'. When he took me to meet him in 1980, Sheikh Abdullah told me, my young friend from Tamil Nadu don't forget, there is no place in the dictionary of Indian political history for friendship or for gratitude in Congress party. Sir, now what has happened? You have not only bifurcated, but nomenclature itself has been changed. When Pondicherry is claiming for statehood, you are equating it with union territory of J&K and Ladakh," he added.
The MDMK chief further pointed out that Kashmir could be pushed to a point of complete chaos, beyond remedy, by successive policy decisions.
"Shakespeare stated in Macbeth - Even thousand perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the little hand of Lady Macbeth. So, that has happened today," he explained. "What bothered me for the last few days when the army was completely omnipresent, deployed there, Kashmir should not become a Kosovo, Kashmir should not become an East Timor, Kashmir should not become a South Sudan. It may happen," he warned.
'What about other states?'
DMK leader Tiruchy Siva meanwhile, delved into Article 373 of the constitution to point out that the government's actions did not match what was constitutionally feasible.
Tiruchy Siva stated that Article 373 allows the President, by public notification, to declare that Article 370 will cease to operate. The President can also mention whether Article 370 can operate with certain modifications and exceptions. He however maintained that this can only be carried out based on the recommendation of the state legislature.
"If at all it has to be done, it is only with the consent of the state legislature," he pointed out.
He further laid out multiple apprehensions that stemmed from the government's move.
"Honourable sir, what we are afraid of, will it stop with this? Tomorrow, the same powers will be vested with you and you can change any state into a union territory, it may be Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Bengal or Maharashtra. This apprehension should not come sir because the article (373) gives protection," he argued.
"If at all you are justifying the decision you could have waited till elections. The state legislature's consent could have been taken as per constitution. Now after imposing President's rule, taking all the powers and doing such a step, I dont know what the implications will be. What the people of Kashmir will consider about this decision," he stated.
He also alleged that with Kashmir's gates now open to outsiders, it could become a hub for multinational companies.
'Trump is a clever Jackal'
Vaiko meanwhile pointed out the government's move could lead to intervention from other countries and international bodies.
"It will be internationalised by the United Nations (UN). There are countries opposed to us. There are enemies to India and they will use this card. United Nations Human Rights Council will definitely interfere and Trump is playing his cards carefully. He is a clever jackal. Now China one side, Pakistan other side, Afghanisthan this side, Taliban one side and Al Qaida one side. Now they will say it has become a Kosavo, it has become a south Sudan, it has become an East Timor," he alleged.