New Delhi, Mar 20: The government on Tuesday clarified that there is no proposal to amend or withdraw the controversial Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 or AFSPA. Under the AFSPA, security forces have special rights to carry out operations in disturbed areas and immunity.
“There is no proposal to amend the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990. There is no proposal under consideration of Government of India to withdraw the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 from Jammu and Kashmir,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The union minister, however, said that a proposal is under consideration to make the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 more operationally effective and humane. There has been a long-standing demand from various quarters in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast to withdraw AFSPA.
On March 5, the CPI(M) had demanded “partial withdrawal” of AFSPA in Kashmir a day after six people, including two militants, were killed when Army troops opened fire in retaliation after being attacked during vehicle checking outside their camp near Pohan village in Shopian district of south Kashmir.
Last month, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said it is time to amend the AFSPA now in force in Jammu and Kashmir and other places. “There is a need to amend the AFSPA if you cannot repeal it. The law and order should be entrusted to the Jammu and Kashmir police and not on the paramilitary forces,” Chidambaram said at a programme.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in February, ruled out revoking AFSPA “due to the prevailing situation” and asserted that the Indian Army is the “most disciplined” force in the world. Mehbooba had said the Army’s footprint in the Valley had increased due to the deteriorating security situation.