Partial withdrawal of AFSPA
Mr. Omar Abdullah, who has been advocating partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of his State, expressed hope of finding a “common meeting ground” with the Army on the vexed issue. Listing the removal of AFSPA as an important confidence building measure, he contended that the special law has been misused from time to time and has forced various human rights body to support its repeal. “We understand that you cannot overnight take it (AFSPA) away. It has to be a gradual process. It has to start with those areas where Army is no longer required to operate and that is what we have been asking for,” he said.
He said there are areas in the State where infiltration and militancy continue to be a problem and thus, making a ground for Army’s presence. “There are also areas where Army has not operated for a number of years now — where the security situation is controlled by Jammu and Kashmir Police and central paramilitary forces. “In such places, the requirement for AFSPA that we discussed, that is exactly what we are doing, the Army has been very reluctant to go forward on this. But I believe there is a common meeting ground that can be found and we are talking about it.”