New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday attacked the BJP over its abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, accusing it of ‘brutally oppressing’ the people of the Valley and terming 36 union ministers, who are currently visiting the union territory, ‘cowards.’

The development came just days after Aiyar, an outspoken critic of the Narendra Modi government, turned up at the ongoing Shaheen Bagh protests, terming the Prime Minister ‘qatil‘ (murderer). The union ministers are in the Valley on an awareness drive, which started on January 18 and will end on January 24.

On Monday, speaking at a rally in Malappuram, Kerala, the veteran Congress leader said, “The BJP said ‘we have a slight majority in Rajya Sabha along with others, so let us push all the anti-Muslim legislation that we have in mind.’ It began with the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution and then the division of the Riyasat of Jammu-Kashmir between Ladakh and J&K, and then a brutal oppression of the people of the valley. They locked up, at one stage, 4,000 leaders.”

Further calling the BJP ‘traitors like the ones we’re seeing right now,’ Aiyar added, “They are not representatives of the people; if they were, they would have been elected many many years ago. How many elections we’ve had in J&K? Some of these people are those who were elected and have now decided to betray the cause for which they stood.”

“They are sending 36 union ministers to J&K, look at these cowards, 31 are going to Jammu and only 5 to Kashmir,” he remarked.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under a communication lockdown since August 5, when the Centre announced the abrogation of Article 370, this revoking the special status to the region. It was further bifurcated into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.