SRINAGAR: A day after rights watchdog Amnesty International released a damning report on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the controversial law will continue in the state and will be revoked only when the situation in the state is conducive. “I pray to God that AFSPA will not be needed anywhere in the country,” he told reporters after paying obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas on the first day of the annual pilgrimage. “All the stakeholders would have to cooperate in order to revoke the Act”, he added.
Rajnath’s statement on AFSPA comes few days after senior J&K BJP leader and MoS, PMO Dr Jitendra Singh had disfavoured partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the state and stated that last word on this would come only from the security agencies and not from political functionaries. His statement had evoked a strong reaction from BJP’s ruling partner in J&K PDP, which said that in a democratic system all the decisions were taken by elected representatives. Incidentally, the revocation of AFSPA also figures in the Common Minimum Programme drafted by the PDP and BJP for running the coalition government.
The Home Minister, who is on a two-day visit to the state, also ruled out talks with the separatists. He, however, said, the government is ready to listen and talk to anyone but anti-national activities should be opposed and boycotted.
And Rajnath assured that the Centre would provide maximum possible assistance for relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is concerned about J&K,” he said.