Measures to end the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories were "a clear assault on democracy", actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan said, as the government pushed the moves through parliament on Monday.
"It is extremely regressive and autocratic. Article 370 and 35A have a genesis. Any change has to be in a consultative manner," Mr Haasan said, who launched his party Makkal Needhi Maiam or MNM last year in Tamil Nadu.
Joining an opposition chorus of accusations that the government had bulldozed the decisions without consulting the opposition, allowing enough discussion in parliament or even time to scrutinise the bills before they were put to vote, the MNM chief lashed out at the manner in which the opposition was "shut by force".
The centre on Monday moved to revoke special constitutional privileges given to Jammu and Kashmir, thereby scrapping its semi-autonomous status, and divide the Muslim-majority state into two federally administered regions.
While the government said the goal was to fully integrating the region with the rest of country and counter terrorism, opposition parties led by the Congress said it will have far-reaching political and social consequences and can trigger unrest in the state. Opposition parties called it a "murder of democracy".
Home Minister Amit Shah announced in parliament the decision to scrap Article 370 as large parts of Jammu and Kashmir were in a complete security lockdown amid apprehensions that any move to abrogate the state's semi-autonomous status can trigger unrest and public backlash there.
After a cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP chief told the Rajya Sabha that the "entire constitution" of India "will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir state".
According to legal experts, this means that the state's legislature will have no power to make its own laws, thus ending the status of special powers and autonomy otherwise not applicable to other parts of the country.
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