Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah Not "Terrorists", Says Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee also said the Centre should have consulted all political parties before coming to a decision to scrap Constitutional provisions that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

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Mamata Banerjee was talking to reporters at Kolkata's international airport (File Photo)


Kolkata: 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her party, the Trinamool Congress, will strongly oppose the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill that proposes to bifurcate the state into two union territories.

Ms Banerjee also said the Centre should have consulted all political parties before coming to a decision to scrap Constitutional provisions that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The chief minister was talking to reporters at Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport before heading to Chennai, to unveil a statue of DMK leader and former chief minister M Karunanidhi.

"The government could have taken the decision after consulting all the political parties and Kashmiris. There was no vote or discussion on the Kashmir issue. This is not democratic. We will oppose it tooth and nail," Ms Banerjee said.

Home Minister Amit Shah had on Monday moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha for bringing a bill to reorganise the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The government also revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Although the TMC lawmakers in the Rajya Sabha staged a walk-out during voting on the bill, Ms Banerjee said it did not mean that the party facilitated the passage of the bill.

"Staging a walk-out from the Rajya Sabha during voting does not mean we are supporting the bill," she added.

On reports of the arrest of former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, Ms Banerjee said they were not "terrorists", and appealed to the Union government to immediately release them in the "interest of democracy".

"We do not have any information regarding senior leaders like Farooq Abdullah ji, but we have seen in the media that (Mehbooba) Mufti and Omar Abdullah have been arrested. I request and appeal to the government that they are also Kashmiri people, and our brothers and sisters. They should not feel isolated," she said.

Ms Mufti and Mr Abdullah, who were under house arrest since Sunday night, had been arrested on Monday night as they were treated a threat to the law and order situation, officials said on Tuesday.



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