Time not right for removal of AFSPA

Time not right for removal of AFSPA

Time not right for removal of AFSPA

Days after the suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said time is not yet ripe for revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir in the interest of national security.

“Time is not right to tamper with this framework. We don’t want a clock to be put back. Revoking of AFSPA has to be a pragmatic, purely security based decision,” Singh said here on Friday at a function countering views expressed by a section of politicians in Delhi and Srinagar including Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his father Farukh Abdullah, who is also a minister in the Union Cabinet.

The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990, came into effect on July 5, 1990. Initially it was applicable in disturbed areas falling within 20 km of Line of Control in Rajouri and Poonch besides the districts of Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Kupwara, Pulwana and Srinagar.

In 2001, the Act – often described as draconian by rights activists, politicians and a section of lawyers — was extended to Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri and Doda.

Defending the Act, which Army claims is essential for carrying out anti-insurgency operations in disturbed areas, Singh said the benchmark for removing AFSPA would have to be the security situation and prognosis of the situation to come in future.

“It is important to observe the situation and it is important to understand the security contours of the situation before we take a decision. The decision should be a pragmatic one, it should be in national interest and it should not be politicised,” he said.
DH News Service

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