AFSPA amendments likely in next CCS
NEW DELHI :
Notwithstanding the opposition from the Army and the Defence
Ministry, the amendments to the controversial Armed Forces
Special Powers Act, aimed at making it “more humane”, are likely
to be placed soon before the highest government body on security
Government sources said the
proposal for the amendment, which is strongly backed by Home
Minister P Chidambaram, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah and several groups in the Northeast, is expected to be
placed before the next meeting of the Cabinet Committee on
Through the amendment, it is
being proposed that arrest warrants are secured in advance and
grievance cells set up to address citizens’ complaints against
the armed forces, the sources said.
By amending clause 4 (a) of the
controversial Act, the government proposes to abolish the power
given to the armed forces which allows them to open fire causing
death, they said.
The proposed amendments were
submitted before the CCS three months ago but were sent back to
Home Ministry for reconsideration following strong opposition
from the Defence Ministry. Army says the Act provides it with
essential legal protection, a stand backed by Defence Minister A
But the Home Ministry, after
examination, decided to re-submit the proposed amendment bill to
the CCS without any changes. The revised proposal has also
incorporated the views of the three interlocutors appointed to
find a solution to the Kashmir issue.
AFSPA, often dubbed as
“draconian” for the widespread powers it gives to the Army -
guarantees that army officers can operate without fear of arrest
by civil authorities.
The Defence Ministry’s view,
however, is that while these amendments are acceptable in a
scenario where the army is called in to aid civil authority -
for example, in the case of riots and civil unrest - they are
too restrictive in Kashmir and the Northeast where the army has
to take on well-trained, heavily-armed fighters, they said.
The Home Minister has often been
citing the statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that
“he will take steps to replace the AFSPA by a more humane law.”
The Second Administrative Reforms
Commission has also recommended replacement of AFSPA. (AGENCIES)
Interlocutors arrive in Jammu
JAMMU : A two-member team
of interlocutors today arrived here to meet Jammu and Kashmir
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and to assess situation in the
mountainous Rajouri and Poonch districts.
As academician Radha Kumar could
not come this morning and may join the team tomorrow, veteran
and renowned journalist Dilip Padgaonkar along with M M Ansari
“During our three-day stay in
Jammu, we will meet different sections of the people and also
visit Rajouri, and Poonch districts to review the situation
besides meeting the Chief Minister,” Mr Padgaonkar told
reporters on his arrival at Circuit House.
Mr Padgaonkar added that the
visit is in context with the Kashmir situation but refused to
comment on the present political situation in state.
Sources said that interlocutors
would interact with some security officials followed by a
meeting with the Chief Minister and proceed to Poonch tomorrow
morning to meet representatives of various political parties.
They would leave for Rajouri on
December 19 and return to Jammu on December 20 and meet
different delegations before leaving for Srinagar on December
21, sources added.
The team would leave for Capital
on December 23 and would submit their review report to Union
Home Minister P Chidambaram. (AGENCIES)
Geelani, Omar under house arrest in Srinagar
Chairmen of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC)
Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq are under
house arrest in the summer capital.
said it was a precautionary measure.
A spokesman of
the breakaway HC Aiyaz Akbar said a large number of security
force and state police personnel remained deployed outside the
Hyderpora residence of Mr Geelani, who has been put under house
arrest for the past 100 days.
He said Mr
Geelani was not being allowed to offer Friday prayers in the
mosque during his house arrest. Even the chairman of the amalgam
was not allowed to join the Eid-ul-Zuha prayers, he alleged.
another faction of HC Mirwaiz has also been put under house
arrest in his Nigeen house.
Mirwaiz has shifted from his Nigeen house historic Mirwaiz
Manzil in the Rajouri Kadal area of down town.
last night, police and security forces raided the Rajouri Kadal
and evicted him from there. He was later dropped at his Nigeen
house where he was put under house arrest.
A number of Awami
Action Committee (AAC) headed by him, who were also present in
the Mirwaiz Manzil, were also arrested and lodged in different
police stations in down town and Shehar-e- Khas(SeK).
shifted his base from Nageen to Rajouri Kadal to ensure that he
is able to offer congregational Friday prayers
At historic Jamia
Masjid as authorities have not allowed him to offer prayers for
13 consecutive Fridays.
He had urged
people to defy any restrictions on Friday and offer prayers in
We are to fulfil mandate, not to
pass judgement: Interlocutors
Kashmir interlocutors today
rubbished a media report that they had criticised the Omar
Abdullah government and self-rule, saying they were here to
fulfil their mandate and not to pass judgements.
“We are here to fulfil our mandate and not to
pass judgements. No such words have been been said by me,”
Kashmir interlocutor and eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar
told reporters as the team arrived here on their third visit to
Flanked by another interlocutor and former
Central Information Commissioner M M Ansari, he said, “I have
not said self-rule is better than autonomy. No judgement has
been passed on either of the two.”
His remarks came against the backdrop of
reports that he had praised the contents of self-rule document.
Padgaonkar was quoted as having described the
Omar Abdullah government as inefficient and insensitive and also
saying that not even 30 per cent of Rs 6,000 crores plan
allocation to the state by the Centre was spent though the
current financial year was drawing to a close.
“Some quotes and sentences which have been
attributed to me in the interview taken by journalist Saeed
Naqvi are not true,” he said, adding, “I have never said the
There are two documents - one of autonomy of
National Conference and another of self-rule of Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), he said.
“We are going to ask them and all the people
to come up with detailed suggestions on how we could go about
and arrive at a political settlement,” he said.
“We are trying to evolve a broad based
political settlement in Jammu and Kashmir keeping in view
aspirations of the people of three regions as well as various
communities,” Padgaonkar said.
Referring to the setting up of “broad
contours” for a political settlement to the decades-old issue,
he said, “We will visit various areas of Jammu region. We will
start with Rajouri and Poonch border districts from tomorrow and
hold talks with various sections of the people.”
The interlocutors would also meet the Chief Minister.
“As far as the previous two visits are
concerned, we have already submitted recommendations to the
Government of India,” he said.
He said to facilitate the dialogue process,
there was need to implement confidence building measures and
both the Centre and the state government were “sympathetically
looking into them.”
After the visit, the interlocutors are likely
to submit the “broad contours” for a political settlement to the