AFSPA not going anywhere

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The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has made it clear that there would be no rethinking on Armed Forces Special Powers Act which has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir and several insurgency-hit states in the Northeast.
The act gives the forces special rights and immunity in carrying out various operations in disturbed areas. There has been a long-standing demand from various quarters in J&K and the Northeast to withdraw it.
However, the escalation of violence in J&K during the past three years and militancy getting revived have silenced the voices within the mainstream parties to get this law revoked.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had strongly been advocating the revocation of AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir. When it was in Opposition it had assured the people that AFSPA would be revoked but since the day it has taken over the reins of the state situation has changed in the state and violence has escalated. This has led to PDP maintaining silence over the issue.
On the other hand the Opposition National Conference too has stopped talking about the revocation of AFSPA. When NC was in power the former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had almost convinced the Centre to revoke the Act from the areas where violence level had come down to zero. The then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had almost agreed to proposal moved by Omar but the Army vetoed leading to proposal being dumped.
In January this year, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had also said that time has not come to rethink on AFSPA. “We have never been strong in applying the force the way it could be applied (under AFSPA). We are very concerned about human rights. We are absolutely concerned about collateral damage,” he had said. But he maintained that AFSPA is not going anywhere.

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