Responding to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that the Congress wants to take away the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Thursday said the party is not in favour of repealing the AFSPA but it will amend the Act to ensure that no illegal tortures and crime against women are committed.
Badal, who is a member of the Congress’ manifesto committee, was interacting with reporters in Guwahati while releasing the party’s manifesto.
“Congress has promised that it will bring two amendments through which it can be ensured that there is no illegal torture and crime against women by using AFSPA. There will be power to ensure that the government of India can prosecute anyone found involved in these two cases,” said Badal.
Prime Minister Modi during an election rally on Wednesday had said that the AFSPA is a protective shield for the country’s armed forces so that they can take any step fearlessly for the security of the country and added that the Congress wants to snatch it from the Army.
Modi, while addressing a rally at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, had accused the Congress of supporting separatist forces by promising to change the sedition law.
“Congress supported separatism, those inciting violence, those who burn India’s tricolour flag and those who say India will be divided into pieces. They play in the hands of foreign forces and support those who destroy the statue of B.R. Ambedkar. That is why they talk about scrapping the law (AFSPA),” Modi said.
“Sedition law is a British-era law, old and archaic. PM Modi is trying to change the narrative instead of discussing joblessness, farm distress… BJP is on a weak footing in this election,” Badal said.
In Assam and other states of the Northeast, however, the AFSPA is often known for its gross misuse by security forces. However, with the improvement of the security scenario in the region, there is a demand from a section to repeal the act in a phased manner.
The act has been withdrawn from Tripura, while it stands removed from three of the nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The Act is in force in Assam, Nagaland and in Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies).