Remove DAA; AFSPA Will Go:Tarigami Asks Government

Remove DAA; AFSPA Will Go:Tarigami Asks Government

22 February 2014
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Jammu: State Secretary CPI-M, MY Tarigami, on Saturday said if State Government was committed to revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act it should withdraw the Disturbed Areas Act from J&K which would make AFSPA invalid. “You have been too much involved talking about it (AFSPA revocation). We feel AFSPA is not required in the State now. You are heading the Unified Headquarters. Who prevents you from removing the Disturbed Areas Act from certain areas? If you remove the Act, AFSPA will automatically go,” Tarigami said while participating in the discussion on grants for the Departments held by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in Legislative Assembly. The CPI-M leader questioned State Government’s silence on officially communicating to the Government of India its demand for removal of the Act from certain areas where the law was not required. “Why is State Cabinet silent on it? You should take up with the government of India the demand for removing the Act from certain areas and removal of certain harsher clauses from the Act,” Tarigami said. Under the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1990, a central Act, J&K has been declared a Disturbed Area. The State Government enforced the amended DAA in 1997 and under rules it ceased to exist in August 1998 after it was not revalidated. But J&K would continue to be ‘disturbed’ until the State challenges it. The debate over AFSPA revocation picked up in 2011 when, at a police function on Srinagar outskirts, Omar said the controversial law would be removed from parts of the State “within days.” Few days later Omar told media persons the law would go during his tenure in the office. The Army and Defense Ministry has repeatedly opposed any such move to “dilute” powers of the armed forces in J&K, saying it could prove counter-productive. Tarigami termed AFSPA as “big hurdle” in restoring the confidence of people in the Government. “We are concerned about our soldiers and people. We don’t want killings,” he said. Tarigami said “some events” like Government of India’s reaction to autonomy resolution passed by J&K House and the State Government’s stand on former Army Chief General VK Singh over his payoff allegations against J&K ministers has “undermined” the dignity of the State Legislature. The J&K House’s resolution demanding autonomy for the State was shelved by the then BJP-led government in New Delhi. Similarly the resolution demanding probe by PMO office against VK Singh over his allegations has also been shelved. Referring to the hanging of parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru, Tarigami said the Government of India respected the resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly demanding amnesty to the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. “But J&K was not even informed about Afzal Guru’s hanging. I am sure you (Chief Minister) were also not informed about the hanging,” Tarigami said. ON PATHRIBAL: Tarigami said the Central Bureau of Investigation confirmed that five civilians were killed in the staged encounter. “No action is being taken against the accused on the pretext that it will demoralize the army. What about the demoralization and injustice that has been meted to people. Don’t they deserve justice?” Tarigami asked. REHABILITATION POLICY: Tarigami said the policy for return and rehabilitation of former militants from across the LoC was not picking up. “You (Chief Minister) are sincere about the policy but it is so complex that it is going nowhere,” Tarigami said. In November 2010, the Government notified the policy for the youth who had crossed LoC to receiving arms training in other part of Kashmir but due to “change of their hearts” they were willing to return.