Upping the ante ahead of the seven-phased Lok Sabha elections, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday slammed the Congress for its manifesto, terming it "pro-terrorists" and "anti-armed forces" and alleged that the grand old party's promise ahead of elections will impact the national security.
Reacting on the Congress' poll document's proposed amendments to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA, the minister said, "Why should it be presumed that the powers of the security forces are opposed to human rights? This is very, very insidious."
#CongManifestoDebate -- On one hand, Congress (@INCIndia) says that they will declare the Pulwama victims as martyrs but on the other they want to dilute the powers of AFSPA: Defence Minister @nsitharaman. | #ElectionsWithNews18 pic.twitter.com/PTqE0S3E11
— News18 (@CNNnews18) April 3, 2019
The manifesto, which was released on Tuesday, promised a revision of the AFPSA in order to strike "a balance between the powers of security forces and the rights of citizens".
"If you want to remove AFSPA, there is a system. It was removed from Tripura and Meghalaya. Our government has shown it can be removed. Congress manifesto on removing AFSPA will have a negative effect. It will be interpreted as being in favour of anti-nationals and separatists; they are demoralising our forces," said Sitharaman.
Hitting out at the Congress for not mentioning the "martyrs" of the 14 February Pulwama terror attack, she said: "On one hand, Congress says that they will declare the Pulwama victims as martyrs, but on the other they want to dilute the powers of AFSPA."
Sitharaman alleged that the Congress's manifesto will bring down the morale of the Armed Forces. She also criticised the grand old party's attempt to promise a measure to do away with the sedition law. "You will remember, it was the Congress party which brought the amendment on bails in the sedition law," she said.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also criticised the Congress manifesto, saying that the Opposition party’s promises are "dangerous and unimplementable" and the agenda seems to be the "Balkanisation of India".
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Updated Date: Apr 03, 2019 13:58:11 IST