Government Hits Out At Chidambaram For Saying 'AFSPA Is An Obnoxious Law'

15 November 2014

New Delhi: Hitting out at former Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is an 'obnoxious law', Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju today said the Congress leader shouldn't make such comments when his party is out of power. 'Chidambram's statement is very opportunistic. Just because he is out of power, and there is election in Jammu and Kashmir, you should not make statement with regard to AFSPA. We have to take care of the country's security first. And then the concern of human rights is equally important. So these are some things where you have to take a balanced view, you cannot make any frivolous statement,' Mr Rijiju said. Welcoming the life sentence given to five Army personnel in the Machil fake encounter case, Mr Chidambaram had said on Friday that AFSPA is an 'obnoxious law' that has no place in a modern, civilised country. 'AFSPA is an obnoxious law that has no place in a modern, civilised country. It purports to incorporate the principle of immunity against prosecution without previous sanction. In reality, it allows the Armed Forces and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to act with impunity,' Mr Chidambaram said in a statement. Minister of Sate for Foreign Affairs, VK Singh, said he did not attach much importance to the remarks made by the Congress leader. 'I don't give much weight to what Mr Chidambaram says. He says something at one time and second day he says something else. Let us not talk of it. And he doesn't even know in what context he was talking,' he said. Mr Singh also said that AFSPA did not come in the way of punishing erring soldiers as was done in Machil fake encounter case. 'AFSPA does not give unlimited powers... we have seen what has happened in Machil (fake encounter case where five army personnel including two officers were handed over life imprisonment). No civilian court would have given a decision in such a short time,' Mr Singh said in Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, said Mr Chidambaram always supported him on the issues of AFSPA. 'I cannot say that Congress was not with me because no one helped me in this the way (former Home Minister P) Chidambaram did. I wish there were one or two more ministers like Mr Chidambaram in the Cabinet Committee on Security, then today we would have come a long way forward in the revocation of AFSPA,' Mr Abdullah told reporters after addressing a rally in Ganderbal in Jammu and Kashmir.