Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday slammed the Congress party for promising to scrap an 1870 sedition law in its manifesto. “This Congress party put over 6000 people behind the bar on sedition charges. Why? Now they are preaching the world,” PM Modi said in an interview to ABP news channel.
"Do you want to encourage things like 'desh ke tukre tukre'. Do you want someone to trample India's flag, insult India's national anthem...continue to break Baba Saheb Ambedkar's statue? What will you do to stop such things," asked PM Modi.
Talking about Congress manifesto which also mentions reviewing of AFSPA, PM Modi said that it has insulted country's Army in its manifesto.
"You (Congress) want to remove it but it's you who implemented it. You should have reviewed it but decided to keep your eyes closed. No one in the world wants that nation should be converted into a jail. But you should try to improve the situation as we did in Arunachal Pradesh. But removing the law, changing the law, speaking the language of tukde-tukde gang... how will the country run," he told the news channel.
The Congress in its manifesto, released earlier this week, promised to amend Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and repeal sedition law. The BJP has upped its ante against the Congress after it released the manifesto.
Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code deals with sedition against the state and attracts three years to life imprisonment. Not too long ago, the law commission recommended doing away with the Colonial era.
In August 2018, the commission invited public opinion on the repeal or restructuring of Section 124A saying the right to free speech and expression was an "essential ingredient of democracy".
Interestingly, the Congress - which is talking about scrapping the law - faced severe criticism when it jailed cartoonist Aseem Trivedi under the sedition law in 2012 under the UPA government.
Seven years later, the party in its manifesto has said the sedition law has been misused and, in any event, has become redundant because of subsequent laws.