The Congress party in its manifesto, which was released yesterday, promised to amend AFSPA to ‘balance’ security and human rights. It also appeared to blame the Armed Forces for sex crimes as it said Congress would “remove immunity for enforced disappearances, sexual violence and torture”. The manifesto was slammed by leaders from the BJP.
In light of the criticism the party has received and realizing that it could jeopardize their electoral prospects in the General Elections, a concerted effort has been initiated by senior Congress leaders and their friends in the media to spread misinformation on the entire issue.
The Former Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, equated amending AFSPA with removing it once the situation has improved.
If amending AFSPA is anti-national, why did the government withdraw today the Act from three districts of Arunachal Pradesh?
Why was AFSPA withdrawn totally from
Tripura in 2015 and remains withdrawn?
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 2, 2019
Rajdeep Sardesai, Brian Stelter’s Indian counterpart, parroted the same narrative.
AFSPA scaled down in Arunachal after 32 years! Hope no one will call the union home minister and Arunachal CM Prema Khandu part of ‘tukde tukde’ gang now!🙏 https://t.co/OQSKU3EiB6
— Citizen/नागरिक/Dost Rajdeep (@sardesairajdeep) April 3, 2019
The entire premise is extremely illogical. Withdrawing AFSPA from areas because the situation in the ground has improved is not equivalent to amending the Act itself, which the Congress party has promised. Thus, if the Congress party intends to remove AFSPA from Kashmir or elsewhere, then the party should have made that promise in its manifesto clearly.
The AFSPA has not been amended by the NDA government. After reviewing the situation at the ground, it made the call that circumstances did not warrant the implementation of the Act. There is a great deal of difference between the dilution of the Act and its withdrawal. Congress is thus comparing apples and oranges.
The Congress party likely made the promise to amend AFSPA due to political considerations as its ally, Omar Abdullah, has been making some unreasonable comments lately. He had expressed his desire to have a separate Prime Minister for the state. It comes across as another instance where the Congress party has prioritized partisan politics over national interests.