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Oppose the procedure, not its spirit: Mamata

Kolkata: A day after the Centre scrapped Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee broke her silence and called the whole procedure followed by the government as "undemocratic".

While leaving for Chennai, Banerjee, at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport said that the Bill was passed by the Centre in an "undemocratic" manner and her party would not support the Narendra Modi government for what it has done. She also maintained that the people of Kashmir were not consulted before the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha. However, she also clarified that she was not talking about the merit of the Bill.

"I don't agree with the procedural method the Centre has adopted. It was not done in a democratic way. I am not talking about the merit of the Bill. I am only talking about the method. Our party has taken a strong decision and we would not support this Bill. We cannot vote for this Bill either as it would go on record. Voting for the Bill will appear to be as if we have directly or indirectly accepted the Bill. What happened in the Rajya Sabha on Monday is not praiseworthy as it was not right constitutionally, legally or technically," Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that the Centre should have taken the consent of the people of Jammu and Kashmir before bringing in the resolution.

There should have been an all-party meeting discussing all the aspects and the people of the state must have been taken into confidence. The Kashmiri people will consider themselves isolated following the passing of this Bill.

"As a citizen of the country, I have been watching what is going on. We are all patriotic people and love our country. We firmly believe that Kashmiri people are our brothers and sisters. If a permanent solution is to be found, the Centre should have discussed the matter with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that there are some procedural lacks. We were

willing to attend an all-party meeting if the Centre would have held it."

Expressing concern over the arrest of the Kashmiri leaders, the Chief Minister said: "I don't have any information about senior leader Farooq Abdullah. We have seen in the media that Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah have been arrested. Mehbooba and Omar are political personalities. They are not terrorists.

They should have been released in the interest of the democratic institution and for the interest of the people as well. Yesterday (Monday) we have seen curfew-like situation in Srinagar and other areas.

We must restore peace. We want peaceful negotiation and a peaceful solution. There should not be any political commotion."

Giving a strong message to the people of Kashmir, Banerjee said: "In any case related to our motherland, we are together. Let the message be passed to every corner of the country that we love

our motherland. The message will build confidence among the people. We have to consider that we are all citizens of the country. I would like to

remind the Centre that Kashmiri people should not feel isolated. They should feel that they are very much with the country."

Banerjee on Tuesday left for Chennai to attend a meeting to commemorate the first death anniversary of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi on Wednesday.

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