No proposal from JK Govt on AFSPA review: Centre
MHA Reply To RTI Application ‘Revealing’
Srinagar, Jan 11: What could be highly discomforting for the successive regimes in the state, the Union Home Ministry has in a startling revelation bared that it never received any recommendation or request from the Jammu and Kashmir government, during past nine years, for withdrawal/amendment/revocation of the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The discomfiting disclosure has been made by Home Ministry in response to a RTI application filed by Irfan Hafiz Lone, vice-president of Baramulla Bar Association.
“No such recommendation/request has been received in this division,” PP Singh, Deputy Secretary (K-III) in MHA has stated in response to the RTI query “whether any recommendation/request has been received by the Union Government from the Jammu and Kashmir government, from 2002 and October 2011, for withdrawal/amendment/revocation (of AFSPA) from some particular areas of the state.”
The other part of the RTI query about the time of imposition of AFSPA in J&K, as per the reply, has been forwarded to the concerned Central Public Information Officer (CIPO) in MHA for providing the applicant requisite information.
The disclosure by MHA comes at a time when Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has raised the pitch over partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the state.
Curiously, while the state governments is yet to make official recommendation for AFSPA revocation as per the information provided in the RTI reply, different panels of Central government including Prime Minister’s Working Groups on Kashmir and three-member team of interlocutors have strongly favored revocation of the controversial law. Even during 2010 unrest, Centre had asked state to review the areas declared disturbed for lifting AFSPA there, with later failing to reciprocate the measure owing to difference of opinion in the panel members.
Following the eruption of militancy in the Valley in nineties, AFSPA was imposed in Valley and Jammu respectively in 1990 and 2001. The then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) issued a notification vide order number SRO-SW4 dated 6-7-1990 declaring the Kashmir valley and parts of Rajouri and Poonch district as disturbed. Another order to notify Jammu region as “disturbed” was issued by then Principal Secretary Home vide order number 219/97-ISA dated 10-8-2001. The notification declared districts of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri and Doda as disturbed areas to facilitate the imposition of AFPSA there.
Pertinently, the areas to be brought under the purview of AFSPA have to be declared as “disturbed” first.
Latest debate over AFSPA revocation was generated by Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah on October 21, when at a police function near Zewan, he declared that the controversial law would be removed from parts of the state “within days”.
On October 25, Omar told a Delhi-based news channel that a decision on AFSPA revocation would be taken before the civil secretariat and other move offices close in Srinagar on October 28 for annual Durbar move to Jammu.
Senior NC leader and Chief Minister’s uncle Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal added a new disquieting dimension to the AFSPA revocation controversy when he blamed the army for orchestrating successive grenade attacks across the Valley on October 25 to scuttle the revocation of AFSPA from some parts of the state.
However, it was widely believed that a decision on partial revocation of the controversial law would be taken in the state cabinet meeting held here on October 28.
But, after state Congress and the Army opposed the move tooth and nail, Omar said the issue would be discussed in November after move offices open in Jammu.
“It never came as a proposal (in the cabinet meeting on Oct 28). So how can it be deferred? It was always slated to be discussed formally in Jammu once offices open,” Omar tweeted on micro-blogging site Twitter on October 29.
To pacify his coalition partner Congress and the armed forces, the Chief Minister also stated that he had only made public his “intention” and not any “decision” on partial revocation of AFSPA.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, on October 31 said that there was nothing “unusual” in Omar’s announcement on partial removal of AFSPA from the state as “the move is part of the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) last September.”
The Unified Headquarters meeting held in Jammu on November 9 again failed to arrive at a decision on the sticky issue as army is believed to have came out openly against the move to partially revoke AFSPA from the state.
On November 10, Omar said in Srinagar that a decision on the issue would be taken after the official panels set-up for the purpose submit their report putting the ball again in army’s court. He, however, made it clear that “no” is not an option for the army.
The Defense Minister AK Antony on November 11 added a new angle to the raging issue, when he said that the Unified Headquarters in J&K and not the Chief Minister would decide on AFSPA revocation.
On November 13, Omar rushed to New Delhi to meet the central leaders including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defense Minister AK Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Army Chief Gen VK Singh to garner support for his AFSPA revocation move.
On his return from Delhi, Chief Minister told reporters in Jammu on Nov 19 that there was ample scope to go ahead with the move (AFSPA revocation) while addressing the concerns of the Army.
On November 21, Omar told a public meeting at Anantnag that while he was on the right track on AFSPA revocation, he won’t set any deadline for the removal of the law from the state. He also said that on AFSPA he was only adhering to the decision taken by CCS last September.
On November 23, Omar triggered another controversy when he told reporters at a dinner hosted by him in Jammu that he was ready to incorporate contentious sections 45 and 197 (A) of the CrPC in the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) to address the Army’s concerns if AFSPA is revoked.
On November 27, NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah took on Army accusing them of having failed to check infiltration. He also said that Army was not the master of JK people and if CM has said that AFSPA should go, it has to go.
On Nov 30 Omar declared at a public meeting in Rafiabad, Baramulla that AFSPA revocation was in a decisive phase while Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Delhi that amending RPC was a separate issue not linked to AFSPA revocation.
On December 11, Omar told Hindustan Times that there is no deadline for AFSPA revocation. “There is no deadline. This is an ongoing process,” he maintained.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 Jan 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 Jan 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 12 Jan 2012 00:00:00 IST
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