NEW DELHI: After ten years in power as Home and Finance Minister, Congress leader P.Chidambaram has suddenly found a voice to describe the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as an “obnoxious law” that has no place in a modern, civilised country.

The Union Home Ministry under him had stoutly resisted all efforts by the Jammu and Kashmir government as well as civil society, including individuals like Irom Sharmila, to get the draconian Act revoked. As a result no one has welcomed or even bothered to respond to the former Ministers remarks on the issue.

The BJP responded, however, with Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju attacking Chidambaram for his “opportunistic and unfortunate” statement. He said that it was wrong for the former Minister to make statements against AFSPA when his party was out of power.

"Such issues can't be only dealt with by the government. It is matter of security. It is wrong that people make such statements, now that they are out of power and that the elections in Jammu and Kashmir are coming up." Kiren Rijiju said.

Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy termed Chidambaram’s statement as 'idiotic', and insisted that AFSPA would not be diluted under any circumstances.

Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, General (retired) V.K. Singh, also took a jibe at the former Home Minister, saying he did not even know in what context he was making such a remark.

"I don't give much weight to what Mr.Chidambaram says. He says one thing at one time, second day he says something else. He doesn't even know in what context he was talking ,"the retired Army chief said. "The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is only an enabling act. It does not give unlimited powers," he added.

Meanwhile Jammu & Kashmir Chief minister Omar Abdullah said that former finance minister P Chidambaram had always supported him on the AFSPA issue.

"I can't say if Congress supported me on this, but Chidambaram certainly helped me a lot. If there were other leaders like Chidambaram in the cabinet committee on security at that time, we would have been able to take the issue of repealing AFSPA much ahead," Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar.

P Chidambaram earlier while welcoming the Army’s decision In Machil Fake Encounter in which the Indian army has sentenced seven of its men said that AFSPA allows armed forces to act with Impunity and because of this many cases had gone without investigation or punishment.

He further added that in 2010 the Home Ministry had initiated the process of amending AFSPA but it was resisted by the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence. He has also appealed to the Central government to bring in a Bill to amend AFSPA during the winter session of Parliament.