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Repeal of AFSPA needs talks: BJP

By EMN Updated: Jan 11, 2014 12:01 am

Guwahati, January 10

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he BJP today said repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur should be done through proper dialogue and keeping in mind the national security.
“We all know that terrorist activities are going on in J&K. They come and kill people. The armed forces go to those places to protect the people. Same is the case in Manipur,” BJP’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.When asked about the BJP’s stand regarding repeal of the AFSPA, he did not give a direct answer.
“For repealing the Act, there is a need to talk with the people. We have to consider it through dialogue keeping in mind the national security,” Prasad said.
The Act has been enforced in Manipur for more than two decades, being extended annually. In November 2013, the AFSPA was extended for another year in insurgency-hit Manipur, barring seven Assembly constituencies within Imphal Municipal area.
Social activist Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on fast unto death for more than 13 years demanding repeal of the Act after killing of 10 civilians by Assam Rifles near Imphal airport on November 2, 2000.

BJP questions govt’s
silence on attack on
Hindus in B’desh

The BJP today questioned the “silence” of the Centre as well as the Assam government over attacks on Hindus during recent elections in Bangladesh and said giving Indian citizenship to Hindu migrants should be considered favourably.
“In the recent polls, Hindus were attacked in Bangladesh. Why Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Tarun Gogoi are silent? Why no step is taken to protect the lives of Hindus there?” BJP’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
Suspected opposition activists attacked Hindus at several places in Bangladesh during and after the polls, accusing the minority community of backing the Awami League which swept the elections following a boycott by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
In the wake of widespread attacks on Hindus in the country, Bangladesh had yesterday decided to set up special tribunals under an anti-terror law to punish the perpetrators of violence aimed at the minority community.
Talking about illegal migration from the neighbouring country to Assam, Prasad said “Lots of Hindus have come to Assam. They come due to various reasons, including religious compulsions. There should be a favourable consideration regarding giving Indian citizenship to them.”
He, however, alleged the Congress-led governments at the Centre and Assam of supporting the illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh for “vote bank politics”.
“In the recent step of the Assam government in asking the migrants to register, BJP senses a sinister move. It is an attempt to influence the voter list. We condemn the step,” he added.
Prasad said the UPA government had promised in 2005 to update the National Register of Citizens within a year, but did not complete the process.
On the controversial land swapping agreement with Bangladesh, Prasad said it would require a constitutional amendment and BJP wouldn’t allow the Bill to pass in the Parliament.
When asked what would be the BJP’s policy regarding deportation of illegal immigrants if it came to power at the Centre, he said “The most important thing is proper detection by a tribunal.”
He also alleged that functioning of the erstwhile Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act was very slow and no infrastructure support was given to it.

By EMN Updated: Jan 11, 2014 12:01:32 am