AFSPA in J&K to go in phased manner | india | Hindustan Times
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AFSPA in J&K to go in phased manner

A law giving the armed forces special powers to shoot to kill in ‘disturbed’ areas will go in a phased manner in Jammu and Kashmir.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2010 00:12 IST
Arun Joshi

A law giving the armed forces special powers to shoot to kill in ‘disturbed’ areas will go in a phased manner in Jammu and Kashmir.

No timeframe has been worked out for lifting the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) of 1958 that requires the army’s consent. But the pace of peace talks and insistence of pressure groups point to its withdrawal from the state soon.

Manipur is also apparently an inspiration. The northeastern state had in August 2004 repealed the Afspa from 20 sq km area in capital Imphal following a series of violent protests to strike down the ‘draconian law’.

According to the state government, at least eight districts – Ganderbal, Budgam and Srinagar in Kashmir, and Jammu, Reasi, Udhampur, Kathua and Samba in Jammu – qualify for the revocation of the AFSPA.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has dropped a hint. He said, “Discussions on the modification of the law are in progress. Secondly, we are looking for a gradual deduction of the areas under its (the Act’s) purview.”

But the army chief, Gen V.K. Singh, said, “Such a move would hurt the operations against insurgents.”

The Afspa was imposed in July 1990 in the Kashmir Valley and in August 2000 in the Jammu region to curb insurgency.

Officials here said a significant drop in terrorism over the past few months made them mull revocation of the Afspa from eight districts.

Besides, the state police – the Act does not apply to them – have been dealing with subversion such as the fidayeen attack at Lal Chowk here last January within the parameters of normal laws.

The Central government too is understood to be favouring a rethink on the Afspa in a bid to assuage local sensitivities following alleged fake encounter in the Hanwara, Shopian and Machail areas in April. Another reason is the deployment of paramilitary forces in the Naxal-infested areas without the Afspa shield.