PC remark on AFSPA triggers row

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s criticism of the “obnoxious” Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) ahead of the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir has triggered a fresh controversy, with the Narendra Modi-led government accusing the Congress of being “opportunistic”.

The immediate trigger for the controversy was the sentencing of five Armymen for life on Thursday for killing three civilians in Kashmir’s Machil sector in 2010.

Chidambaram, who was Union home minister when the killings took place, was quick to call the AFSPA an “obnoxious” law that has no place in a modern, civilised country.

The Modi government hit back, with former Army chief and Union minister Gen (retired) V K Singh pointing out that the controversial law did not come in the way in punishing the guilty Armymen.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju joined Singh in trashing the remarks as “opportunistic”. “Chidambaram’s statement is very opportunistic and unfortunate. Now, just because he is out of power and there is an election in Jammu and Kashmir, he should not just make a statement regarding AFSPA,” he told reporters here.

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