Describing the revoking of Article 370 as a "black day" in the country's constitutional history, the Congress on Monday alleged that the government "dismembered" Jammu and Kashmir by "mischievously misinterpreting" articles in the Constitution, and cautioned that the idea of India as a union of states is in "grave danger".
Senior Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram alleged that the Modi dispensation's move amounted to "constitutional monstrosity" and the decision marks the "beginning of the disintegration of India if the government continues on this path".
Flanked by leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and other opposition leaders, Chidambaram told reporters outside Parliament: "We anticipated a misadventure, but did not think in our wildest dreams that they will take such a catastrophic step."
"Today is a black day in the constitutional history of India," he said.
Azad, in his remarks, accused the BJP of taking the decision "for votes". and also alleged that the saffron party is "playing" with unity and integrity of the state.
"A border state, which is culturally, geographically, historically and politically different was bound together by Article 370. Drunk on power and to get votes, the BJP govt scrapped 3-4 things in one stroke," Azad said.
He said that since morning, the Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), CPI, DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Kerala Congress, Samajwadi Party, Kerala's Muslim League, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), has been protesting and will continue do so against this "black law".
"We will keep fighting both inside and outside Parliament," Azad said.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Azad said the entire Kashmir Valley is under curfew and three former chief ministers of the state and political leaders have been placed under house arrest. He called for the situation to be discussed first but Naidu allowed Shah to move the resolution.
Chidambaram told reporters that the government has not simply got rid of Article 370, but has also "dismembered" the state of Jammu and Kashmir by "mischievously misinterpreting Article 3 and Article 370 of the Constitution".
"If this can be done to Jammu and Kashmir let me caution you that this can be done to every other state in India. All that they have to do is dismiss the elected government, impose President's rule, dissolve the elected assembly, Parliament takes the power of the state assembly. The government moves a resolution, Parliament approves it and the state can be dismembered," Chidambaram said.
He claimed that every state can be broken up and Union territories can be created out of the states by the "mischievous interpretation" of Article 3 and 370.
"It will not stop here. What they have done is a constitutional monstrosity. People of India and people of every state must wake up to the grave danger that is set as an example today by these completely unconstitutional and illegal resolutions," Chidambaram said.
"I want to warn, every party, every state and every citizen in India that the idea of India as a union of states is in grave danger. They can dismember every state and break it up. This is the beginning of the disintegration of India if this government continues on this path," he said, adding that this was "the worst day" in the constitutional history of India.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said that legally, as per proviso to Article 370(3) of the Constitution, it cannot be scrapped by the President without the recommendation of the state assembly.
Currently there is no valid assembly and the BJP has been avoiding elections, scrapping Article 370 in current manner is "unconstitutional", he said in a tweet.
He also cited a Supreme Court judgement to drive home his point and added that probably the "era of law and Constitution is over".
Meeting a long-held promise of the BJP, Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha that Article 370, which allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have its own Constitution, will no longer be applicable.
"The president on the recommendation of Parliament is pleased to declare as from 5th of August 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative... ," stated the resolution moved by the Home minister.
Shah also moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.