AFSPA:Omar ready to amend RPC to give legal protection to Army

Omar Abdullah
Jammu, Nov 24: In a bid to allay concerns on the issue of revocation of AFSPA, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said his government is ready to give legal protection to the Army by amending the Ranbir Penal Code and making it on par with the CrPC.

He also stated that the final decision on the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) vests with the Governor.

"They (security forces) have pointed out that in all other states of the country, Army enjoys protection under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which is not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir's RPC. We are ready to amend the RPC to make it on par with CrPC to remove doubts of the Army", Omar said in an informal chat with mediapersons last night.

He said government is ready to give the Army all powers enjoyed by them under CrPC in other states.

RPC can be amended to the extent of providing operational safeguards to the Army, Omar said.

During the last Unified Command meeting chaired by the Chief Minister on November 9, the CRPF had sought implementation of CrPC in the state to provide them legal cover for operation if government wants to remove AFSPA.

"There are two issues - one the rights of the Army and other legal immunity to them - which they have raised during interactions," he said, adding "Army has apprehension that SHOs or havaldars would arrest their jawans and they will get entangled in unnecessary cases" if AFSPA is revoked.

To another question, he said the Governor has to take a final decision on revocation of AFSPA.

He also said that a team of officers would be sent to New Delhi for talks over AFSPA.

Debate over the partial revocation of AFSPA began last month when Omar announced the Act would be revoked from parts of the state "within few days".

The Army maintains that any tampering with the law will "handicap" their capability to conduct counter insurgency operations.


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