The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by Mehbooba Mufti, has moved a resolution for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act on the eve of the budget session of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.
The budget session will commence on Wednesday at a time when the Valley is back to protests, clashes and anti-India demonstrations, following the recent killings of civilians in Sopore allegedly by the army and the murder of a relative of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik.
The PDP MLA from Darhal, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, moved a private member resolution for the “withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Power Act from the State of Jammu and Kashmir to prevent killings of innocent citizens at the hands of security forces.”
The Act was introduced in Jammu and Kashmir in July 1990 at the time when militancy was at its peak. The PDP raised objections to the Act in the House in early 2007, when it was part of the ruling alliance with the Congress.
But then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress described the move as running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. In protest, the PDP surrendered the security cover of its top leaders, including Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti.
But now, Chief Minister Omar Abduillah of the National Conference, who has been feted as the youngest CM of the state at 38, will have to face the first major test of his political career in the assembly.
The scrapping of the Act puts the National Conference in a dilemma. For, twice during the budget sessions in 2006 and 2007, the party had stalled the proceedings demanding action against soldiers for killing four children and civilians in fake encounters.