Reddy Panel Report On AFSPA Gathers Dust

Reddy Panel Report On AFSPA Gathers Dust

27 March 2012
Greater Kashmir
Anil Anand

New Delhi: The Centre seems to be in no hurry to take a final decision on the recommendations of Justice B P Jeevan Reddy committee which had recommended repealing the contentious Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from 12 districts of Jammu and Kashmir and some other parts of the country including Northeast. The five-member committee headed by Justice Reddy was set up by the Government of India on 19 November 2004 to look into various controversial provisions contained in the AFSPA. The panel had submitted its report on 6 June 2005 in which it had recommended the repeal of the Act and suggested that the Unlawful Activities ( Prevention) Act, 197 should be suitably amended to achieve the purpose served by the AFPSA. Replying to a question jointly asked by BJP Members Yogi Aditya Nath and Shahnawaz Hussain in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran said that the committee’s recommendations were “considered” by the Government and consultations were also held at the inter-ministerial level. However, no final decision could be taken. Replying to a specific query about the follow-up action on the report, the Minister said that the Government treads cautiously on matters related to the country’s security. “On security matters the Government of India carefully evaluates the situation on the ground before taking a decision,” he responded. Presently AFSPA is in force in Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Kupwara districts in Jammu and Kashmir. The entire states of Assam and Nagaland are covered by the Act. In addition Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh, 20 kilometer wide belt bordering Assam in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and the entire state of Manipur excluding Imphal Municipal Area and parts of Tripura, as notified by the state Government, are also covered under the Act. Meanwhile, the Government is still to take a final decision on the implementation of the report submitted by three interlocutors on Kashmir which they had submitted on 12 October, 2011. “The report is under consideration of the Government,” Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh said while replying to another question in Lok Sabha. Jammu and Kashmir figures high among the states where illegal arms have been seized or recovered during the last four years. In 2010, 2796 such arms were recovered by the security forces as against 965 in 2009. The figure came down to 719 in 2011 and till 12 February, 2012 64 illegal arms were seized.