Ruling out any direct role in revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state, Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad Wednesday said it is a misconception that Armed forces were enjoying ‘immunity’ under the law. He however hinted that even the Police would need ‘some kind of legal cover ‘in case it is entrusted the independent job of counter insurgency’.
“A misconception has been floated that Armed forces are immune to any kind of disciplinary action under AFSPA”, DGP told KNS on Wednesday from New Delhi soon after attending the interstate Conference on police Reforms.
“Army catches a man and hands him over to Police. AFSPA doesn’t provide them any investigation Powers,” said the DGP. He however added that the union government has a mechanism to screen the allegations against armed forces’ personnel working in areas where AFSPA is in operation before they are put to trial.
The DGP however said that even it would be desirable for state Police to have such screening ‘if it is to handle the counter insurgency of its own’.
“You can have any officer being accused of violating the norms. Does that mean, every Police officer shall roam around in court corridors to prove his innocence or fight militancy? Therefore there has to be some kind of a mechanism to save officers and personnel against being tried on the basis of allegations which don’t have any merit”, said the DGP. “You can’t let anybody level allegations every now and then when you have such a tough situation to handle”, asserted DGP.
The DGP claimed that there were people with vested interests who were creating confusion over the issue. “Under Section (3) of AFSPA, Central forces get the special powers and under section (3) of Disturbed area act only J&K Armed Police, not the JKP enjoys certain Powers”, said Prasad. He however made it clear that political dispensation was the appropriate authority to take a final call on the implementation or revocation of the controversial law.
“We have already two committees working on it, and once they submit the report to Govt, the position would get clear”, DGP added.
Meanwhile hinting at limiting the movement of some separatist leaders, who he said, could create law and order problems, DGP said that majority of the separatist leaders have been released but there were inelegance inputs suggesting the free movement of some leaders could create law and order problems ‘which has forced the authorities to put a check on their movement’.
“As long as they are not involved in instigating people, we don’t have any problem with their movement, but if they try to instigate people, surly we will revisit our decision”, stressed Prasad. He also said that if Syed Ali Shah Geelani would like to go to Hyderpora Mosque or for Shopping and medical Checkup, he won’t be stopped unless there was any apprehension of law and order problems.
Prasad hinted at reduction of security cover in Baramulla where people have been protesting for over a week. “Let the stone pelting stop, reduction of security cover would be considered”, he said.
“There are 10 to 15 boys who throw stones for vested interests and they have held the entire area to ransom”, said the DGP. He added that the situation in Palhalan, Khanpora and other areas has been brought under control and efforts were on to return normalcy in the old town Baramullah also.