Time Not Right For AFSPA Withdrawal From JK: Centre

23 July 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)


New Delhi: The Central government today said time was 'not appropriate' for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, said the issue was raised by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during the conference of chief ministers on internal security on June 5 last year. Rijiju said, 'The Chief Minister raised the issue of withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state in a phased-manner, beginning from the areas which have been free from militancy for quite some time.' 'However, various stakeholders, particularly the security agencies, have expressed their apprehension to the government that the revocation of the Act from the state of J&K will jeopardise their efforts in maintaining security and law and order in the state. 'Hence, it has been decided that the time is not appropriate at the moment for withdrawal of AFSPA from the state of J&K,' the minister said. Regarding the north-eastern states, Rijiju said, 'Representations have been received from time to time from different organisations-NGOs from Manipur for withdrawal of AFSPA. On security matters, the Government of India carefully evaluates the situation on the ground before taking any decision.' In reply to a separate question, Rijiju said the resolution of the Kashmir issue involved multi-faceted approach to address the issues besieging the state such as terrorism, infiltration, Pakistan factor and political polarisation among others. The government has taken several actions from time to time to resolve the above issues emanating from the domestic and external factors, he said. 'On the domestic front, the government in tandem with the state government adopted a multi-pronged approach to contain the cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, which includes, inter alia, strengthening of the border management and multitiered and multi-modal deployment along the international border and infiltration routes, improved intelligence and operational coordination and proactive action against the terrorists within the state,' the minister said. The minister said that during bilateral talks between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan following the swearing-in ceremony of the Central government on May 26, 2014, 'it was agreed that Foreign Secretaries of both countries would get in touch to explore the possibility of how to move bilateral relations between the two countries forward. 'Our Prime Minister further emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and tranquillity at the borders and upholding the sanctity of the Line of Control,' he said. Further in the Budget of 2014-15, Rs 500 crore have been earmarked for the rehabilitation of the Kashmir migrants, he added. In another reply, he said so far 2,264 special police officers had been made constables-followers in J&K under the government policy. 'As per report, there is no proposal or policy under consideration of the state government to consider village defence committees for regularisation, as their nature of engagement is purely voluntary,' Rijiju said. What MOS (Home) Kiren Rijiju said: During the conference of chief ministers on internal security on June 5 last year, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah raised the issue of withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state in a phased-manner. Various stakeholders, particularly the security agencies, have expressed their apprehension to the government that the revocation of the Act from the state of J&K will jeopardise their efforts in maintaining security and law and order in the state