Omar Abdullah's AFSPA repeal plans hit by army roadblock

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Jammu Kashmir
Srinagar, May 16: Omar Abdullah's plans of reviewing the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) may have suffered a huge setback after the army has vetoed saying that the law was necessary until terror-camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are dismantled.

Lt General K T Parnaik, general officer commanding in chief Northern Command, has said that the army has submitted its recommendations to the Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister as to why the AFSPA was necessary in the state.

He said, “Obviously the recommendation was that the time is not rife for removal of AFSPA. This was not the single recommendation but there were host of issues which we have spelled out. We have tried to clarify why AFSPA is required in J&K in the larger interest of security. We perceive that unless terrorist infrastructure is dismantled across the LoC, you can"t have sense of lasting peace."

Parnaik also informed that the recommendations were made by the two core committees comprising senior civil and security officers, formed by the Chief Minister to look in to the issue.

He said, “Both committees met in February-March and gave recommendations to chief minister and thereafter we have not heard (from the government) on this issue."

The recommendations by the army will further increase the pressure on Omar Abdullah who is already under-fire from the People's Democratic Party and other separatist leaders over the issue.

According to the AFSPA(source: wikipedia), special powers are conferred upon armed forces in disturbed areas wherein an officer of the armed forces has powers to:

-"Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law" against "assembly of five or more persons" or possession of deadly weapons.

-To arrest without a warrant and with the use of "necessary" force anyone who has committed certain offenses or is suspected of having done so.

-To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests.

-It gives Army officers legal immunity for their actions.

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