Minister in Prime Minister's Office, Dr Jitendra Singh, today disfavoured partial withdrawal of controversial AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir but underlined that the last word on this would come only from the security agencies and not from political functionaries.
"Without engaging myself into any kind of debate, I would say I am not qualified enough to answer your question. The reason being that I seriously believe the last word on this should not come from political functionaries but from security experts and security agencies," he said while interacting with a group of students and alumni from world's premier educational institutes here.
Asked whether the government would look for possibility of partial revocation of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, he said "you have it (AFSPA) in one district and you do not have it in another district? I simply do not understand the meaning of this. It is just like not having it in Jamia and having it in Connaught Place. So somebody does something in Connaught Place and finds a safe haven here (Jamia) to reside, because it is a protective mechanism for the security forces.
"But I would not get into the debate because too many things would get attributed to me. I think I would suffice by saying I am not qualified to answer this question."
The Minister of State in PMO, who is a Lok Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur constituency, said the issue of AFSPA is a long debate. "In fact I can talk on AFSPA for three hours and I have done that also in the small workshops that we keep organising in our organisations."
The AFSPA is applicable on Jammu and Kashmir and some north eastern states. Civil society organisations have been seeking its revocation alleging misuse as it gives sweeping powers to security forces.
Singh was speaking at a programme 'Policy Bootcamp', which according to organisers, was attended by students and alumni from Indian Institutes of Technologies, Yale and London School of Economics, among others.