The People's Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly condemned the killings of two youth in Chatergam area in an army shootout on Monday evening and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put a stop to the unaccounted killings in Kashmir.
In a statement, party president Mehbooba Mufti said the killings of Faisal Ahmad Bhat and Mehraj-u-Din Dar add only to the cold statistics of deaths in Jammu and Kashmir for which nobody is held accountable.
She said her heart goes out to the families which have lost their youngsters to senseless use of force and expressed solidarity with them in this hour of grief.
Terming it the most atrocious way of killings, Mehbooba said even if the young boys had not responded to the call for stopping, the army men could have fired upon the tyres of the vehicle the boys were traveling in and punctured them, rather than pumping dozens of bullets into these youngsters.
The PDP chief said we are tired of condemning such incidents and demanded probes which have so far led nowhere. "It is time to restore full civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir so that the residents of this state also enjoy the constitutional guarantees of dignity and right to life like other citizens of the country."
Mehbooba said the continued use of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has generated an all pervading sense of impunity among the security forces as they feel beyond reproach for their conduct and some of them misuse their authority and weapons.
The PDP president said the state has travelled a long way since 1990 when this law was enforced to tackle the militancy in view of thousands of youth having taken to arms. "Now that the people of the state have repeatedly expressed their faith in democratic methods for safeguarding their rights, such draconian laws are proving counterproductive," she said and added that this law is now used more against civilians than militants who are only a few dozens in number now.
Mehbooba said the PDP has since 2007 been stressing the Centre for the revocation of the AFSPA, which was later endorsed by no less than the Prime Minister's Working Groups and supported by all political parties, including the BJP members during the UPA-II. She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take a call on this law and use his decisive mandate as an opportunity to open a new chapter in Jammu and Kashmir by taking steps to revoke the AFSPA and restoring the constitutional rights of the people living here. The continuation of unaccountable authority under the AFSPA is proving counterproductive day by day, she added.