New Delhi, Dec 10: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Monday said the partial withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to take place in near future—the claims of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah notwithstanding. Shinde also said that “no immediate decision on the mercy petition of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru is on cards.”
On the issue of AFSPA, the Home Minister set at rest all speculations stating that the “issue could be settled only after peace is restored in Kashmir.” “The implementation of the AFSPA cannot be stopped till complete peace returns in J&K,” he said, replying to a relevant query here on Monday.
“It cannot be withdrawn unless it (the state) is quite and calm,” he said, when asked when the government was planning to withdraw the controversial law from the state as demanded by various quarters. Shinde said infiltration from across the border to Jammu and Kashmir has “increased” in recent times and security forces were keeping close eyes along the Indo-Pakistan border. “Infiltration has increased. That is our information. We are worried. We are watchful in all sectors. We are very careful. But no untoward incident has happened as far as infiltration is concerned,” he said.
On the issue of Afzal Guru, the Home Minister said the Ministry seems to be in no hurry to take a decision.
Stating that his earlier statement on the issue that Afzal’s fate will be decided within 48 hours was “quoted out of context,” Shinde said: “Files pertaining to mercy pleas of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and six others will be looked into after the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.”
Shinde also said there has not been any request to hand over the body of 26/11 Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab, who was hanged on November 21. “There is no request for Kasab's body. Neither from his family nor from the Government of Pakistan," the Home Minister said, addressing a press conference here.
To a question on mercy plea of Guru, Shinde said a decision to reject his clemency application was taken earlier. “(Subsequently) the file was sent to the President for consideration. But the President sent back to me seven cases (including Guru). When Parliament session is over, I will look into it. I can't tell you the date," he said. “The file has not come to me. President said new Home Minister should look into the file. As soon as the file comes to me, I will not take much time.”