Jammu, Mar 5: Chief Minister Omar Abdulllah, on Tuesday sought the lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from selected areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
The AFSPA grants special powers to the armed forces, battling militancy in the troubled regions of Kashmir and the northeast, which includes powers to search, arrest or shoot people.
It also gives legal immunity to the officials, so they can be neither sued nor prosecuted.
Earlier also Abdulllah pitched from its removal from the areas, which had been cleared of militancy. But the government rejected his proposal.
In 2010, over 100 people were killed by government forces in protests against the AFSPA in Kashmir. Local authorities in some areas have said they will stop using the law, but this has been blocked by the Indian Army.
“If somebody points that the lifting of the AFSPA from a particular area could be dangerous, I will keep quiet. But there are areas, where we don’t need services of the army, and nobody should have objection if it is revoked from those places. Our talks with the federal government are going on and we have not kept the issue on the back burner,” said Abdulllah, while speaking in the upper house of the state assembly here.
Referring to shooting of army helicopter by Maoists in central India, Abdullah said: “If the government does not need AFSPA for the protection of helicopter. Why do they need AFSPA for the defence of convoy in the areas, which have been cleared of militancy? We will protect. We have our police force and CRPF. We can chalk out the procedure through discussion.”
Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim majority region, has been the trigger for two out of three wars between India and Pakistan. (ANI)