Decision on AFSPA after consultation with stakeholders: Kiren Rijiju

Srinagar, April 10: The Centre on Friday said that "no democracy will want to have a law like AFSPA", but the fate of the controversial act in Jammu and Kashmir will be decided after a thorough consultation with all stakeholders.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, while talking to reporters here, said the Ministry of Defence has a "very strong" view that the law should continue because of the "unusual kind of security situation" in the state.


"AFSPA is a very special provision and it is invoked in special circumstances. When the situation is ripe, it should be revoked. No democratic society will want to have such a law," he told reporters.

The minister, however, said any decision on the revocation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) would be taken after consultations with all the stakeholders, provided normalcy is restored.

[BJP relents on Art 370, PDP softens on AFSPA]

"When it is a very unusual kind of a security situation the security agencies have to face, then this law (AFSPA) is invoked. Now, you must be aware that the Ministry of Defence has a very strong view that this law should continue and we cannot unilaterally make an announcement from the Home Ministry," he said.

The statement by the union minister comes two days after differences between allies PDP and BJP over the issue of revocation of AFSPA came to the fore.

While Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said the state government would work towards a phased withdrawal of AFSPA, coalition partner BJP demanded not to revoke the law, saying the terrorist attacks that took place on Monday must act as an eye-opener for those who advocate the revocation of AFSPA. [J&K: Will gradually repeal AFSPA, says Mufti Mohammad Sayeed]

"It is the consultations for which all the stakeholders have to come together in the interest of the nation and the state... for the security of the people, this law has been used and we have to ensure that it is not abused or misused. That is the concern we have and it is a concern for everybody to see that such laws are not required and normalcy returns and people live with full peace and security," he said.

The Union minister said despite appreciable decline in the militancy-related violence in the state, there were issues which need to be dealt before a decision on the revocation of AFSPA is taken.

"There are issues still that we need to deal with and that one thing you all know that situation seems to be much better in Kashmir, but there are issues which we have to be careful (about) and in national interest, we have to take decisions. But at the same time, the interest of the Kashmiri people, interest of the civilians, it has to be kept in mind for anybody," he said.

He said, "I feel that normalcy will return with the people's participation in the democratic process, which shows that people want peace".

Rijiju was here for the meeting of Committee of Eminent Freedom Fighters.


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