The stringent Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states is being reviewed but cannot be repealed, the highest ranking home ministry official said on Tuesday.
"The AFSPA is required to fight with insurgents, so it cannot be repealed. However, it is being reviewed and it will be made more humane by doing away with provisions like shooting at sight," Home Secretary Gopal Pillai told IANS.
He indicated major changes likely to be implemented would include provisions that no more shooting to kill on mere suspicion.
Pillai will head for Assam on Wednesday to study the situation in the insurgency-hit state and address the press in Guwahati on Friday.
The AFSPA has often courted controversy as it gives a free hand to the armed forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.
The law, which is now enforced in large parts of Manipur, Tripura, Assam and Nagaland and some parts of other northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, gives armed forces special powers to detain or kill terror suspects in insurgency-prone areas.
Recently, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met Defence Minister A K Antony and Home Minister P Chidambaram and demanded the AFSPA be repealed.
Earlier, addressing a seminar at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Pillai had said, "Economic development and administrative reforms have to be undertaken to curtail insurgency."