NEW DELHI/ KOLKATA: The Left parties on Monday lashed out at the government for revoking Article 370, saying that it was the "murder of democracy" and will serve to only to further "alienate" the people of the region.
The government on Monday abolished the article that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and moved a separate bill to bifurcate the state into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
"What the government has done is regressive and will further alienate the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This is the murder of democracy," CPI general secretary D Raja said.
The CPI(M) termed the move an "attack" on the Constitution and held a protest along with other left parties against the move at Jantar Mantar on Monday.
"This is an attack on the Indian Constitution by scrapping Article 370 and dismantling the state of Jammu and Kashmir. They will be led by the central leadership of these parties," the party said.
The protesters included senior Left leaders like CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Brinda Karat and Atul Anjan among others.
Coming down heavily on the government, Yechury said abolishing Article 370 was an attack on the democracy which was done "secretively" by the ruling BJP.
"This protest is just the start, we will take to the streets and continue this fight. Unity does not mean territory alone, it involves unity of the people also," he said.
Raja demanded that the Modi government restore the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He also expressed concern over how Parliament was kept out of the loop by the government in making the decision to abrogate Article 370.
Senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat demanded the "release" of political leaders in Kashmir and questioned the abrogation of Article 370 without any reference to the people of the state.
"We have heard about states being divided to create new states with new powers, that also after years of dialogue. Are the people of Jammu and Kashmir lesser citizens of India that without any reference to them, you want to divide their state and deprive them of powers that a full state has," she said.
Biman Bose, CPI-M Politburo member and Left Front chairman said in Kolkata, "The Centre has deliberately pushed the country towards the crisis. We oppose the decision of the central government. It will further deepen the crisis in the valley. The decision will have ramifications across the country," he added.
The Left parties also took out protest marches in Kolkata against the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Demanding that the government "end the siege in Kashmir", CPI-ML Liberation party tweeted that the government through its decision had ended the last bridge between the state and the constitution.
"By effectively scrapping #Article370 and 35A, the Modi govt has burnt the constitutional & historical bridge that connected J&K with the rest of India.
The govt's obsession with setting the clock back is pushing the country back into the turbulence of the 1940s," tweeted CPI-ML Liberation from its official handle.
"Governance by conspiracy and coup: that's democracy under the Modi-Shah duo ploy! Like the 500 and 1000 rupee notes, Article 370 and the entire spirit of the Constitution has been junked today," it alleged.
Article 370 of the Constitution granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir whereby provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) secretary Kavita Krishnan called presidential order on Jammu and Kashmir, "Modi government coup against Constitution".
"Demonetisation was no solution to black money - this coup is no solution for Kashmir. Emergency's midnight knock has reached Kashmir - will soon reach the whole of India," she said.
She also lashed out Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal for supporting the Centre's decision.
"Dear Arvind Kejriwal and others, you're wishing Kashmiris peace. State Assembly dissolved, State annihilated, Kashmiri Opposition leaders in house arrest & Kashmir under siege - this is not peace. This is fascism. We can't call a silenced, imprisoned people, 'peaceful'," she said in a tweet.
Another activist Shabnam Hashmi said the decision on Kashmir is a blatant display of brut authoritarian power.
The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) also strongly condemned the government's sudden move to abrogate Article 370.
The organisation further said that it is an act of the BJP government to forcibly push its majoritarian agenda and divert attention from its continued economic failures.
"AIDWA, along with all democratic forces calls upon citizens of the country to mobilise and pressurise the Union Government to reverse its decision. It appeals for utmost unity amongst all sections of society to defeat the divisive agenda of the BJP-RSS who pursue fascistic policies," said the statement, undersigned by its president Malini Bhattacharya and general secretary Mariam Dhawale.
The abolition of Article 370 will "completely integrate" the state with the Indian Union like other princely states in 1950 and its residents will enjoy equal rights like other citizens, officials said on Monday.
The decision will also allow any individual, business or NGO, that operates as per the law of the land, to freely operate, under the same rules of business, in the new union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.