As the BJP and the PDP inch closer towards forming the government there are last minute details being drawn up including a common minimum programme. While there would be a status quo on Article 370, the BJP is not ready to have a re-look at the Armed Forces Special Powers of the AFSPA.
There has been a demand by the political parties to either withdraw or dilute the AFSPA, but the BJP is firm that there would be no re-look and if there is any change in this act, it would demoralize the entire armed forces.
Army says no chance of diluting or withdrawing AFSPA
The battle in Kashmir is a tough one and every single day the army needs to deal with terrorists from Paksitan. Army officials tell oneindia that if there is any change in the AFSPA, consider the battle almost lost as it would completely dilute powers and demoralize the force.
Thanks to the AFSPA, we are able to carry out operations against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, army officials point out. Pakistan has dedicated 44 of its terror training camps to Jammu and Kashmir alone. The battle is fought everyday and every minute.
The controversy regarding Section 4 of the AFSPA
The bone of contention has been Section 4 of the AFSPA. This gives the army powers to conduct, searches, raids and arrests in any premises they want. Citizens have often complained about harassment and political parties in the Valley have been promising the amendment of this section.
The army however states that it is thanks to this power that we have been able to gain control to a large extent over the situation in the Valley. Terrorists used to hide like mice in the houses of civilians and several times they went undetected.
If we do not have the power to carry out searches and also conduct arrests, then terrorists will have the upper hand. For a long period terrorists hiding in the houses attacked with a surprise element. This had given them the edge.
The other point that was made by the parties in the Valley was that there ought to be some safeguards while conducting search and arrest operations. The AFSPA gives the army blanket powers. The army however disagrees.
Army officials say that if their men are dragged to court every now and then, there could be a lot of false cases being filed also. In operations, there is a need for some blanket powers and the army has exercised caution while using these powers.
This is the time to boost the morale of the armed forces which is fighting a hard battle in the Valley. Pakistan sponsored groups in the Valley which include the separatists would make such demands so that it aides the terrorists from Pakistan, an army official also informed.