AFSPA will be withdrawn from Kashmir once normalcy returns: Union Ministser

New Delhi: With the rival party, Congress’s manifesto out, opposition ruling party BJP Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday slammed Congress for promising to review AFSPA and said that Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act can be withdrawn from the Kashmir Valley once normalcy is restored.

While addressing a public meeting supporting cabinet member Mahesh Sharma contesting from Gautam Buddha Nagar, Singh accused Congress of making attempts to weaken the Indian armed forces by promising to dilute the AFSPA, News18 reports.

He added the government has already withdrawn AFSPA from parts f Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.

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“We have strengthened the hands of our soldiers with AFSPA in disturbed areas where extremists and terrorists run their activities. But Congress wants to weaken our soldiers and security forces. We will not let this happen,” he said.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Disturbed Areas Act empowers and provides immunity to security forces in areas hit militancy and at times of insurgency.

The Congress manifesto released for Lok Sabha elections claimed to “review” both the AFSPA and Disturbed Areas Act.

“Suitable changes will be made in the text of the laws to balance the requirements of security and the protection of human rights,” the manifesto stated.

Not only did Congress promised to review Armed Forces Act but it also promised to repeal the colonial-era sedition law and leave out the IPC section on criminal defamation.

The Union Minister slammed Congress for its stand on reviewing the sedition law. He said, “A befitting reply will be given to whosoever tries to break India. Those who will do rashtradroh, they will be in jail, I am shocked that the Congress is speaking for such rashtradrohis,” adding that by pushing for such policies, the Congress is “promising to protect anti-nationals.”

“This turmoil will end. We are on track to end this for all time. How long can a handful of leaders keep betraying the people there and play with their future?” The minister further declared that the government is going to develop Kashmir and that “Kashmiris have a distinct identity in the country. They have talent.”

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