GUWAHATI, Aug 6 — Accusing the Centre of implementing “undeclared Emergency” by abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution without consulting the people of Jammu & Kashmir, former chief minister Tarun Gogoi today expressed apprehension that special provisions of the Constitution which are applicable in the various North Eastern States would also be done away with in the name of bringing uniformity.
Addressing a press meet here today, the senior Congress leader said certain elements have got emboldened following the Centre’s decision to repeal Article 370 and to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir into two separate Union Territories (UT).
“This is a warning signal for Assam and the North East. Biswajit Daimary of BPF has already demanded UT status for Bodoland. Today they have demanded UT. Tomorrow they will demand a separate State. Most of the North East States enjoy certain special constitutional provisions, like the Sixth Schedule. What is the guarantee that what happened to Jammu & Kashmir will not happen here? People of North East are worried,” said Gogoi.
“Tomorrow, somebody will argue as to why Clause 6 should be implemented in Assam. What the Centre has done has given rise to lots of doubts,” he added.
The senior Congress leader said the Kashmir imbroglio is too complicated to be solved by merely repealing Article 370 and reorganising Jammu & Kashmir.
“If Amit Shah and Narendra Modi believe that they will be able to solve the problem in this manner, then they are wrong. I believe that the situation there will only deteriorate further… Only the Army and the police cannot solve the problem. We will have to win the hearts and minds of the people. Additional forces have been deployed (in the Kashmir valley), former chief ministers have been arrested, Internet services have been shut down, people of the State were not consulted… What kind of situation is this,” said Gogoi, terming the situation “undeclared Emergency”.
“Such dictatorial and undemocratic measures will only complicate things further,” said Gogoi.
Asked about senior Congress MP Bhubaneswar Kalita’s resignation from the Rajya Sabha on the day the Centre introduced the Bill to abrogate Article 370 and Kalita’s opposition to the Congress party’s line on the issue, Gogoi said, “Was Bhubaneswar Kalita unaware about Article 370 and our party’s stand on it all these years? If he had any issues, why did he not discuss the matter in the party forum? Abrogation of Article 370 has been part of the BJP’s election manifesto for decades. Whom is Bhubaneswar trying to bluff? Besides, the Bill was introduced in the utmost secrecy. So how did he know that the Bill is coming? He must have been in contact with the BJP.”
Gogoi said he believes Kalita will join the BJP.
Asked if he believes Kalita is opportunistic and power-hungry, Gogoi replied in the affirmative but also added, “But if he does not join BJP, then I will apologise to him for my statement. If he stays in Congress, I will also apologise to him. It will be good if he does not leave the party. He is a senior leader and we need his services.”
The former chief minister also lambasted NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela.
“Thousands of people have been called for re-verification to places hundreds of kilometres away from their homes at a short notice. Those people are all Muslims and they are all Indian citizens. This proves that Hajela is doing this to satisfy the RSS. First, Bengali Hindus were targeted and now, only the Muslims have been called for re-verification. What does this prove? Hajela is functioning in a Tuhglaqi manner,” Gogoi said.