The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday lashed out at senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, a day after he claimed that the Centre had decided to revoke the state’s special status and bifurcate it into Union Territories because it was a Muslim-majority region, PTI reported. The BJP said Chidambaram’s comments were “very irresponsible and provocative”.

“Today, Jammu and Kashmir has been turned into a municipality,” Chidambaram had said. “There are special provisions for other states under Article 371, why only J&K. This is because of religious fanaticism. If J&K was a Hindu-dominated state, BJP would not have done this.”

The Congress leader alleged that the saffron party had revoked Kashmir’s special status with “muscle power”, and said the international media, unlike Indian news organisations, were covering the unrest in the region. He claimed that the state police had to resort to firing to control the protests of around 10,000 people in Srinagar’s Soura area.

While he criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for selectively speaking about laws not applicable to the region, Chidambaram also targeted regional political parties for not opposing the decision out of fear.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the former minister of making a provocative statement. His colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Congress was adding a communal angle to the matter.

“What he has said is an attempt to give communal colour to the issue even though the decision is in national interest,” PTI quoted Naqvi as saying. Chouhan said Congress’s “narrow mindedness” had made the party view the matter through a “Hindu-Muslim” lens.

Last week, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which seeks to convert the state into a Union Territory and separate Ladakh into another Union Territory. Their new statuses will come into effect on October 31.