Proposal for AFSPA revision pending before CCS: PC
‘Interlocutors Report Will Be Made Public Soon’
ANIL ANAND/PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Mar 31: Union Home Ministry has sought amendments in the controversial Armed Forced Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the proposal is pending before the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Replying to questions of journalists after presenting his monthly report here, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters that the view of Home Ministry is that “three amendments should be made to the AFSPA. That is pending with the Cabinet Committee on Security”.
Chidambaram was replying to questions about the suggestion made by the United Nation Special Rapporteur on extra judicial summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns that AFSPA should be repealed as it was “symbol of excessive state power” and "has no role to play in a democracy”.
The Home Minister said the report of the UN Rapporteur was both negative and positive. “The Rapporteur has praised the openness and willingness of the government of India to engage, shown also by the fact that it was willing to host a mission dealing with the right to life, an area in which issues to be tackled are often complex in various countries,” the Home Minister said.
The Home Minister said that in his understanding the UN Rapporteur had made “some positive statements”.
On his views on AFSPA, he said, “Yes, we take note of the view but that's not a novel view as there are a number of people who have expressed the same view and there are others who have a contrary view which is why the issue remains unresolved.
“The view of the MHA is after considering the Justice Jeevan Reddy report and all other reports, the view of the Ministry of Home Affairs is that three amendments should be made to the AFSPA,” he said.
While Chidambaram did not spell the amendments, sources in the Ministry said the amendments include taking arrests warrants in advance, taking away the power of the armed forces to open fire causing death and setting up of a grievance redress cell.
The issue has also raised the heckles of the right-wing outfits who have asked the Government to immediately reject the UN report. International working president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Pravin Tagodia, in a statement here said that “UN should also be asked not to interfere in India’s internal matters.”
Chidambaram said report of the interlocutors on Kashmir would "see the light" early in new financial year once a presentation is made before the Cabinet Committee on Security.
He said National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon "is trying to schedule a meeting".
"I am hopeful it will see the light...Early in new financial year (starting on April 1). We are trying to schedule a meeting of the CCS.
"You know there were many, many events in the last three or four months. We are trying to schedule a meeting of the CCS. I think NSA is trying to schedule a meeting and there is a full discussion on CCS," he said and added he stood firm on his commitment to make the report public.
The interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir comprising noted journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and M M Ansari, had submitted their report to Chidambaram on October 12 last year in which they touched on a variety of issues including the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act confronting the state.
It was expected that an all-party meeting would be called to discuss the report of the interlocutors but only after CCS takes a view on that.
On the issue of delay in taking decision on mercy petitions pending before the Home Ministry, Chidambaram disclosed that out of 33 petitions only one is pending in the North Block. Rest all have been submitted or resubmitted to the President Pratibha Patil. Till date she has taken decision in 15 cases.
In reply to a question related to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s mercy petition, he said that the issue was before the President. The Home Ministry has already given its view on his mercy petition.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 31 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 31 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 1 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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