DEHRADUN The Congress is committing a “sin” by promising to revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Jammu and Kashmir and do away with the sedition law just for votes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Addressing a rally in Dehradun, Modi termed the Congress’ manifesto a “Dhakosla patra” and alleged that the grand old party had plans to trample and suppress the “honest’ and “tax-paying” middle classes.
He accused the party of hurting the morale of the armed forces by seeking a review of the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir.
Modis statement comes a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that AFSPA can be withdrawn from the Kashmir Valley once normalcy is restored, even as he slammed the Congress for promising to review the AFSPA in its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Singh was addressing a public meeting in support of Cabinet colleague Mahesh Sharma, who is the BJP candidate in Gautam Buddha Nagar, where he accused the Congress of wanting to dilute AFSPA in an attempt to weaken the armed forces.
We have strengthened the hands of our soldiers with AFSPA in disturbed areas where extremists and terrorists run their activities. But Congress wants to weaken our soldiers and security forces. We will not let this happen, he had said.
Signalling a characteristic shift in its position on issues related to national security and individual freedom, the Congress, in its election manifesto released on Tuesday promised to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Disturbed Areas Act which empower and provide immunity to security forces in areas hit by insurgency and militancy.
The manifesto made a specific proposal related to national security in Jammu & Kashmir, with the party claiming it will review both the AFSPA and Disturbed Areas Act. Suitable changes will be made in the text of the laws to balance the requirements of security and the protection of human rights, it stated.
The party also promised to repeal the colonial-era sedition law and leave out the IPC section on criminal defamation.