JK Govt clueless about proposed amendments
‘No Review Of The Act in Sight’
SHABIR IBN YUSUF
Srinagar, Apr 22: Jammu and Kashmir government is clueless about the three proposed amendments in the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) referred to by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during a recent visit to Jammu.
Despite the fact that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is pressing hard for the revocation of the contentious Act and reducing footprints of the security forces in the state in a phased manner, the state government functionaries have no knowledge about the proposed amendments in AFSPA.
During a recent visit to Jammu, Chidambaram said that his ministry has sought three amendments in AFSPA which were pending approval before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
J&K Home Secretary BR Sharma told Greater Kashmir that any amendment in AFSPA is solely the prerogative of the Union Home Ministry. “We do not know anything about the proposed amendments,” Sharma said. “To amend the Law is their (MHA’s) job,” he said.
Though Chidambaram did not give any details about the proposed amendments, Greater Kashmir leant from a senior MHA official that there are bleak chances even the amendments getting the go-ahead from CCS.
The official said that one of the proposed amendment aims to take away the impunity of the armed forces if death has resulted from them after opening fire. “In this amendment the police/paramilitary or Army party responsible for the killing of a person can be prosecuted in any court of law,” he said.
Presently under the Act, any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may open fire if he/she is of the opinion that any person is acting in contravention or breach of law or order.
The senior MHA official said that the second proposed amendment would take away the power to arrest any person without a warrant. “Any force, be it paramilitary or Army can’t arrest anybody on suspicion after the amendment. First they have to seek the arrest warrant from police,” he said, adding that even the raid can’t be conducted without proper permission from the police. He further said in case of cordon and search operation, the security agencies have to get written permission from the first class magistrate and during the operation the magistrate has to supervise the operation/happenings.
While as from the last more than two decades, the security agencies are arresting the people without any arrest warrant. Any person who according to them has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he/she has committed or is about to commit a perceivable offence is being arrested. They (security forces) enter and search, without warrant, any premises to make any arrest.
The third amendment according to official is likely to provide for setting up of grievance redressal cells.
The MHA official said that there are bleak chances of CCS approval to the first two amendments in AFSPA. “The issue was deliberated, but there is little hope for any amendments among the three. Any such amendment will render the forces handicapped operating in valley,” the official said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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