The Indian National Congress in its election manifesto released on Tuesday promised to remove the anti-sedition law (Sec 124A of IPC) and review stringent provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act presently in force in Jammu and Kashmir and in several north-eastern states.
In its manifesto, the Congress has said it would "amend the AFSPA, 1958, in order to strike a balance between the powers of security forces and the human rights of citizens and to remove immunity for enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture".
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley immediately hit out at the Congress, describing the manifesto as "a Charter to Weaken India" and said "it appears some of the points (in the manifesto) have been drafted by Congress President's 'tukde-tukde' friends, when it deals with Jammu and Kashmir and national security....Being involved in terror will no longer be a crime. The party which says this does not deserve a single vote."
Politics apart, the prime issue is that of national security and the morale of our armed forces. We cannot put the lives and careers of our security personnel in jeopardy in the name of garnering votes. The Congress party may have promised that it would do away with stringent provisions in the AFSPA, but has Rahul Gandhi ever given a thought to what will happen to our security forces battling insurgency in Kashmir and the North-East?
Our jawans and officers risk their lives while fighting terrorists, only for the larger interest of keeping our lives safe and secure, and conversely, it is our paramount duty to ensure that the lives of our jawans and officers are kept secure and they should be spared the agony and harassment of going to law courts to defend themselves for acts that they may have committed in self-defence and in the national interest.
Once a jawan or an officer is arraigned before a law court, he loses the support of the government and his family is left to fend for itself. How can one expect a jawan or an officer to face the terrorists in the face of a law that breathes down behind its neck?
I spoke to many retired army generals who strongly denounced this provision in the Congress manifesto and have alleged that this amounts to compromising national security. Such provisions can lower the morale of our armed forces and will openly give a boost to terrorism.
The nation cannot accept such a situation in any case. We cannot have our jawans and officers fighting the terrorists with one hand tied behind their back.
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