Prakash Karat demands revocation of AFSPA across India


New Delhi, Nov 13: Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Prakash Karat on Sunday demanded the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFPSA) across India.
“Firstly, we want the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) abolished, not only in Jammu and Kashmir, but also in Manipur and other states where it is enforced. Also, the provisions of this law are an assault on the fundamental rights of the citizens of our country,” he said.
Karat said that conditions in Kashmir were conducive for the Act to be lifted from at least those areas where there was no militancy.
“The government had promised that the law would be reviewed. This was discussed in an all-party meeting, Parliamentary party delegations also went (to Jammu and Kashmir). Our interior minister had also said that there would be a review,” said Karat.
“One year on, there is scope of lifting the AFSPA from many areas where the armed forces are not deployed, and where there is no militant violence today. In order to remove the AFSPA from those areas, their proclamation as ‘disturbed’ areas should be done away with,” he added.
Defence Minister A K Antony had on Friday said the Unified Command would take a decision on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking on the sidelines of the foundation day function of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) here, Antony said: “This is a very sensitive matter, and as far as our ministry is concerned, we have already conveyed our view to the government. And after the discussions last year, the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) took a decision to leave it the Unified Command in Kashmir to take a decision on this question of partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas.”
“So, as far as we are concerned, we have left it to the Unified Command in Kashmir to decide,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had earlier on Thursday reiterated his demand for withdrawal of the AFSPA from peaceful areas of the state, and said that he would not take “no” for an answer from the Indian Army.
“I have said that “no” is not an option I am willing to consider, so other than “no” as an option, you give me other options that are feasible and workable and that is what I want those committees to examine and then I will take a look at it,” Omar told mediapersons in Srinagar.
Asserting that the Jammu and Kashmir Government hoped to phase out this law during this winter season, Omar said: “Well obviously, the sooner the better, because winter is normally a phase where militancy is at a low and that obviously gives us a window to consolidate, to reorient our deployments and to see how this phased withdrawal is working.”
“So obviously, I would like as much of the winter months available to me. Whatever redeployments, whatever reorientation needs to take place that will happen,” he added.


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