The Congress manifesto party today released its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which is to start from April 11. The manifesto was released in the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Priyanka Gandhi and other big leaders were also there.
The 55-page Indian National Congress manifesto released by party President Rahul Gandhi took one year to put together and covers a vast range of issues from jobs, farmers, national security to even LGBTQ rights.
The congress on Tuesday promised to repeal the colonial-era sedition law, leave out the IPC section on criminal defamation and “review” the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Disturbed Areas Act which empower and provide immunity to security forces in areas hit by insurgency and militancy.
The Congress also said it “will provide a statutory basis to the National Security Council (NSC) and the office of National Security Adviser (NSA). Their powers and functions will be defined under the law and both authorities, and the agencies under them, will be accountable to Parliament”.
The Congress manifesto made a specific proposal related to national security — in Jammu & Kashmir, the party said it will “review” both the AFSPA and Disturbed Areas Act. “Suitable changes will be made in the text of the laws to balance the requirements of security and the protection of human rights,” it stated.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram told reporters: “As far as AFSPA is concerned, please read it carefully. We have said we will amend the law… balancing the rights of security forces as well as human rights, and remove immunity in only three cases: enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture. I don’t think anybody in the 21st century can say that enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture must be condoned.”
Congress said it “will re-establish the NSAB (National Security Advisory Board), provide a statutory basis to the body, appoint experts from different disciplines and ensure that it will function as a permanent, professional advisory body advising the NSC and the government”.