Former home minister P Chidambaram has come under fire from BJP ministers for his statement on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa). Chidambaram had in a statement on Friday called Afspa an "obnoxious law" that has no place in a modern, civilised country.
Union minister Gen (retd) V K Singh on Saturday defended Afspa, saying it did not come in the way of punishing erring soldiers as was done in Machil fake encounter case.
Asked about the statement of former Home Minister P Chindambaram on Afspa, Gen Singh said he did not attach much importance to the remarks of 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.
"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," Singh told reporters.
Minister for State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had also on Saturday criticized Chidambaram for making such comments when polls are round the corner.
Swamy had called Chidambaram's statement "idiotic", and assured that Afspa would not be diluted under any circumstances.
Rijiju had termed Chidambaram's statement "opportunistic and unfortunate" and stated that while the latter was the Home Minister of India, he knew what was the situation and under what condition this law had been implemented.
The senior Congress leader however found support from Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah who said on Saturday "I wish there were one or two more ministers like Chidambaram in the Cabinet Committee on Security, then today we would have come a long way forward in the revocation of Afspa,"
The NC working president said while Chidambaram failed to convince his cabinet colleagues at the Centre, the chief minister could not convince his cabinet colleagues from Congress in the state.
(With agency inputs)