M A I N   N E W S

AFSPA amendments under review: PC
n Changes under CCS consideration n J&K interlocutors report to be out soon
Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 10
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said his ministry had proposed three amendments to the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and those were under the consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). Chidambaram was on a day-long visit to the state to review its security situation.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been pressing for partial revocation of the AFSPA and reducing the footprint of security forces in the state in a phased manner.

"The Ministry of Home Affairs has proposed three amendments in AFSPA. They are under the consideration of the CCS," he told reporters here after a meeting with J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) leaders.

Regarding the report submitted by the three interlocutors appointed by the Centre, Chidambaram said their report would be made public only after consideration of the same by the CCS. “Once the decision on these amendments is taken, we will make the report public,” the Home Minister said.

The three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir -- noted journalist Daleep Padgaonkar, noted academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner MM Ansari -- had submitted their report to Chidambaram in New Delhi on October 12, 2011, laying down a roadmap for the government to address all issues pertaining to the state.

Omar has repeatedly pitched for making the report public, holding a debate on it and thereafter implementing the recommendations. Political parties in the state have also been demanding that the report be made public.

Earlier, on arrival from New Delhi in the morning, Chidambaram visited the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi and paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum.

The Home Minister also met senior Congress leaders of the state and discussed various issues pertaining to the functioning of the coalition government.

Although PCC chief Saif-ud-Din Soz denied any discussion on AFSPA in the meeting with Chidambaram, Congress’ Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha member Madan Lal Sharma said Congress leaders had expressed their reservation against withdrawal of AFSPA from the state at this juncture. “I told the Union Minister that time is not ripe for revocation of AFPSA from the state,” Sharma said.

Soz said the functioning of the government was discussed in the meeting. “We told the Home Minister that the Congress has been providing every possible help to the state government to restore lasting peace in the state and ensure smooth functioning of the coalition,” he said and disclosed that Congress leaders discussed some issues regarding the Jammu region.

A delegation of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee Kashmir also met Chidambaram and highlighted the hardship being faced by Sikhs in the state.

AFSPA allows armed forces to

n Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law.

n To arrest without a warrant and with the use of necessary force anyone who has committed certain offences or is suspected of having done so

n To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests.

n The act also bestows legal immunity to the officials, which means that they can not be sued or prosecuted.

In j&K since 1990

First introduced in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, the Act was later extended to Jammu and Kashmir as the The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 in July 1990.





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