The inaugural day of Legislative Assembly Monday witnessed a split among the Valley and Jammu based political parties—some speaking in support and some advocating revocation of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) in view of unabated civilian killings in the state.
Taking part in the obituary reference, Harshdev Singh, Panthers Party MLA, while referring Samba-Kathua militant attack, said some people want to revoke AFSAPA that too from Smaba Kathua areas of the state because they think these areas are peaceful but let me add to their information the latest attack is not new but these area have been more vulnerable. “The soldiers take bullets to their chest so lifting of AFSPA is irresponsible. The army needs to be empowered to face these situations.”
He said that the situation is not conducive for revocation of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. However, many members of the House belong to valley based political parties including CPI (M) and National Conference objected to Singh’s stand.
Earlier Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) president had also talked about impunity to army and other security forces under AFSPA and had demanded the law be revoked. Taking exception to Singh’s stand on AFSPA Mohammad Yousf Tarigami, State Secretary CPI (M) and MLA Kulgam said that AFSPA being in place could not prevent militant attacks to take place in Kathua and Samba. “It is not the question of AFSPOA or no AFSPA but fact of the matter is that such attacks are taking place,” Tarigami said.
Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, National Conference MLA said that there was a dire need to discuss and review AFSPA as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned. “I think the AFSPA being in place is not able to stop killings of Army men on the borders, police personnel and civilians. The Chief Minister stand on the issue is based on reality and the law must be reviewed,” Kamal said.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti had earlier in her speech said that whenever any killings take place at the hands of army, they are protected and shielded under AFSPA. She said that state government was not even able to prosecute police or CRPF personnel involved in human rights violations.