Omar gets support from Amnesty for Afspa revocation
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah got international support for his pitch against misuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) when international rights body Amnesty a issued statement backing Abdullah’s argument.
"Members of the Indian army must stand trial when facing charges of serious violations of human rights, instead of hiding behind the controversial Afspa," said Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific Program Director Sam Zarifi said.
The statement came just a day after Abdullah told a gathering in Jammu, "Afspais for legitimate protection and not for protection of the acts of crime. And that is something we have always maintained."
Abdullah, who is striving for revocation of the Act from peaceful areas of Kashmir, said, "protection is given to the personnel so that they do not become victims of the law while rendering their (anti-militancy operational) duties…I do not think the armed forces have to commit rape, murder or any other such activities in order to perform their duties.”
The Supreme Court on Feb 4 said that the Indian army could not invoke the Afspato avoid prosecution of eight officers charged with the March 2000 killing of five Kashmiri villagers at Pathribal.
"While the court’s remark opens the chance for the prosecution of the eight army personnel, Amnesty International reiterates its demand for the repeal of the Afspa, which has been in force in various parts of north-east India for over five decades and in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990," Sam Zarifi said.
The Supreme Court’s statement, according to the Amnesty, should finally allow some light to be shed on some of the army’s most "gruesome violations, providing some hope for justice for the victims and a step forward imposing the rule of law". The army is opposing Abdullah's move to revoke Afspa arguing it will impact security forces's moral.
The army says the Afspa is required for succcesful counter-insurgency operations.