'AFSPA hinders peace process'

It stands in contradiction to fundamental rights, says PDP patron

The use of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) continously was against the letter and spirit of the Constitution and “amounts to denial of fundamental rights to life and liberty enshrined in it”, said Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday.

Reiterating his party’s stand on revocation of AFSPA, he said, “The very claim of our country to a democratic system suffers a blow when the people of an entire state are denied fundamental rights on the pretext of security.”

Mufti, a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, said he had been advocating for AFSPA’s revocation since 2007 “when the Prime Minister on his suggestion had appointed a high powered committee to examine the issue”.

He said continuing the law in the changed circumstances when the militancy has substantially reduced and people were overwhelmingly participating in the democratic process was a hurdle in the way of establishing complete normalcy and a setback to the peace process.

“J&K cannot be eternally governed through black laws if the region has to come out of its painful history of discord and destabilisation,” Mufti said.

Terming the latest suggestion of using Army to control unrest among people as a serious setback to the process of normalisation, he said, “Any civilian government having to resort to it is not worth the representative character it claims.”

“Can there be a more profound evidence of a government’s failure,” he said.

“National Conference’s claim of trying to lift AFSPA is no more than one of the hollow slogans of the party which has lived on such gimmicks for the most part of their history,” he added.

He said thousands of youths had been framed in false cases and currently a fresh wave of arrests had seen hundreds of them in jails, including teenaged children.

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