Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had a Twitter battle with Bharatiya Janata Party on the AFPSA issue today. Trying to corner Union Minister Arun Jaitley, Chidambaram asked he was mum on the withdrawal of the controversial Act from Tripura, Meghalaya and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
Jaitley had criticised the Congress on Tuesday after the opposition party announced in its manifesto that if voted to power, it will review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act that gives a degree of immunity from prosecution to security forces deployed in "disturbed areas". He had alleged that the "tukde tukde gang" drafted the parts of the Congress manifesto dealing with issues of Kashmir and national security.
In a series of tweets, Chidambaram also asked Jaitley whether he supports "enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture", the allegations which are common in areas where AFSPA is in force.
"We say that in these three cases there should be no immunity under AFSPA. What does Mr Jaitley say?" the former home and finance minister asked.
"Why has Mr @arunjaitley not answered the questions on withdrawal of AFSPA from Tripura (2015), Meghalaya (2018) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh (1-4-2019)?
"Is Mr @arunjaitley supporting 'enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture'? We say that in these three cases there should be no immunity under AFSPA. What does Mr Jaitley say?"
"There is no tukhde tukhde gang in the Congress. There is only a flip flop gang in the BJP (sic)," he said.
In its reply to Chidambaram, the BJP said AFSPA has been withdrawn from three states after bringing normalcy. "A former Home Minister must know that AFSPA was withdrawn in Meghalaya, Tripura and partly in Arunachal by bringing normalcy in the States. In these States the UPA failed in bringing normalcy. The NDA succeeded. Is the situation in Kashmir comparable to these States?," BJP official handle ased on the social media site.
On immunity on criminal charges under AFSPA, BJP said that if the clause is removed that security forces will have to spend all their time in legal cases instead of nation's defence.
"There are 1799 applications filed for prosecution of security officials under AFSPA, when terrorists are killed or arrested. It is always torture, theft and misbehaviour including with women which is alleged. Take away the sanction provisions, this number will multiply ten times. Officers of the Armed Forces will only be facing trials not defending the sovereignty. Don’t play with the Armed forces," BJP said.
There are 1799 applications filed for prosecution of security officials under AFSPA, when terrorists are killed or arrested. It is always torture, theft and misbehaviour including with women which is alleged. https://t.co/HdF8K3qvp9— BJP (@BJP4India) April 4, 2019
The ruling party has slammed Congress's poll manifesto as "dangerous and unimplementable". It has alleged that the promises made by the Congress on repealing and reviewing certain laws related to national security was akin to an agenda of India's "Balkanisation".
(With inputs from PTI)