SRINAGAR:With the international human rights watch dog Amnesty International releasing its report on the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) on Wednesday, differences on its revocation in the ruling PDP-BJP combine in Jammu and Kashmir have come out in the open.
While releasing its report “Denied – Failures in Accountability for Human Rights Violations by Security Force Personnel in J&K”, Amnesty International said special powers granted to the Armed Forces only fuel abuses in the state.
It called for revoking of AFSPA and probe into the human rights violations in J&K by an independent and impartial authority. It also sought removal of all requirements of sanction or prior permission to prosecute security men and identified impunity and lack of political will as a long standing problem in J&K.
However, the ruling coalition partners PDP and BJP were not on the same page on the issue, with the saffron party even opposing partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the state. The PDP, however, favours revocation of AFSPA from peaceful areas of J&K.
“You have it (AFSPA) in one district and you do not have it in another district. I simply don’t understand the meaning of this. It is just like not having it in Jamia and having it in Connaught Place. So, somebody does something in Connaught Place and finds a safe haven in Jamia, because it is a protective mechanism for the security forces,” senior BJP leader and MoS in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh had said on Tuesday.
The last word on this (AFSPA) would come only from the security agencies and not from political functionaries, he had asserted. Reacting to Jitendra’s statement, PDP chief spokesman Meboob Beg said in a democracy it has to be elected representatives, who have to take a final call on AFSPA revocation.
“Despite the commendable services by the Armed Forces, one has to be very clear that taking decisions on such key issues (AFSPA) do not fall within their domain,” Beg said. He said it would be wise to take security agencies onboard while taking such decisions, but to say that the decision is to be taken by the security agencies was against fundamental principles of democracy.