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Amit Shah Says J&K, Including PoK, Integral Part of India; Congress Calls Article 370 Move ‘Constitutional Travesty’

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The Congress questioned the legality behind introducing the bills, even as Home Minister Amit Shah said nobody can stop the government from introducing a resolution on Kashmir in Parliament.

New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted in Lok Sabha that Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are part of Jammu and Kashmir and said “we are ready to give our lives for it”, even as the Congress slammed the Centre’s move to repeal Article 370.

Moving a resolution for revoking provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, Shah also said that there has been a long-standing demand for giving Union Territory status to Ladakh which was fulfilled by the Narendra Modi government.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt about it. When I say Jammu and Kashmir, I include Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin, both are included in the territorial boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Home Minister said. “Ladakh, including Aksai Chin, will be a Union Territory. Both Hill Councils will continue to be active,” he said.

Responding to a query whether the new provisions would also include PoK, Shah said, “We will give our lives for it.” Aksai Chin is a vast area in Ladakh which is currently under Chinese occupation.

Shah said the “President has signed a Constitution Order 2019 yesterday, ordering application of all provisions of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, this means Article 35A is removed”.

The House also witnessed uproar, with Congress members and Shah involved in a war of words.

Congress Leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury questioned the legality behind introducing these bills. “You say it is an internal matter. The UN has been monitoring the situation since 1948. Then there is Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. Whether this is a bilateral matter or an internal matter….” Chowdhury asked, triggering opposition from treasury benches. Chowdhury later said he needed clarification on the issue.

Shah said, “These (legislations on JK) are not only legally right but also constitutionally right”. When some members from opposition benches asked why the home minister was appearing so aggressive, Shah replied, “I am aggressive because you think PoK is not a part of India.”

Tewari said if Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad are part of India, then it is because of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. To this, Shah said this was an example of discrediting the contribution of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel.

“This House has seen very historic decisions, this bill will be written in golden letters,” Shah added.

Dismissing opposition charge that introduction of the bill and the resolution were violation of the rights of the people, Shah said nobody can stop us from introducing a resolution on Kashmir in Parliament. The home minister also said the UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have an assembly with a chief minister and MLAs.

The government on Monday revoked some provisions of the Article 370 and proposed bifurcation of the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Fulfilling an electoral promise of the BJP less than 90 days after the Modi 2.0 government took power, Shah had announced the decision in the Rajya Sabha, which approved both the resolution and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill.

Slamming the government, Congress leader Manish Tewari said the move is a “constitutional travesty”. He said changing the boundaries of any state without approval of its state legislature is not in the spirit of Parliament.

“Without the approval of the Constituent Assembly, you cannot do this. This is a wrong interpretation of the Constitution,” he said, adding that it was perhaps for the first time that a status of a state has been watered down and made into a UT.

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