PM Modi Slams Congress Manifesto, Says Revoking AFSPA in J&K Like Sending Our Soldiers to Gallows
New Delhi: Targeting the Congress’s manifesto over its proposal of reviewing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said revoking the Act would be equivalent to sending soldiers to the gallows.
In an exclusive interview with News18 Network Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, Modi said AFSPA was necessary in Jammu and Kashmir to protect the armed forces and to keep up their morale.
The government must have the power to protect its armed forces. Only then will they have the morale to fight. Revoking AFSPA would be like sending our soldiers to the gallows. I won’t let this happen,” Modi said.
Emphasising on the need for the Act in a disturbed area such as Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said the government must first create an environment where AFSPA is unnecessary before revoking or diluting it. He also gave the example of Arunachal Pradesh, where the government partially revoked the Act earlier this month.
“First, we revoked it from a few districts in Arunachal. We then revoked it from a few other states. We were the first government to take such a step since 1980. But we have maintained law and order,” Modi said.
The Congress election manifesto released last week, proposed a review of the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir and revoke and ammend several other laws like sedition and defamation. This lead to condemnation from BJP leaders. However, the Congress clarified it only intended to modify AFSPA in instances of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Following the release of the grand old party’s manifesto, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the vision document was full of “dangerous ideas” that could lead to the “Balkanisation” of India. Jaitley went on to say that it seemed the Congress manifesto was drafted by the “Tukde Tukde Gang”, an oft-used BJP euphemism for those whom the party felt were working against the integrity of the nation state.
Modi took a similar view on the matter and said the Congress manifesto was ‘soft on terror’. “We are at the crossroads of eliminating terrorism. Terrorists are demoralised and we are winning a psychological war against them,” he said.
Modi also said the Congress party’s views on the army was akin to that of Pakistan. “No patriot will tolerate this language. Their manifesto talks about removing AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir. This amounts to removing weapons from a soldier’s hands,” he added.
The AFSPA provides special powers such as arrest without warrant, fire upon or use force against those acting against law and order, legal immunity, among others, to armed forces in a disturbed area. The Act has come under the scanner for human rights violations in regions of effect.