Published at November 23, 2017 12:24 AM 0Comment(s)6399views


Justice Verma Committee in the past recommended, like several other saner elements and rights groups, removal of the heinous law called AFSPA with the committee’s report maintaining “There is an imminent need to review the continuance of AFSPA and AFSPA-like legal protocols in internal conflict areas as soon as possible. This is necessary for determining the propriety of resorting to this legislation in the area(s) concerned". It was in year 2013, but the obnoxious law that gives immunity to armed forces to try them in civilian courts for civil or criminal proceedings came under a barrage of criticism even years before that. It was in 2004 when UPA government set up a committee under Home Affairs Ministry. The committee called Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee, under retired Supreme Court Judge BP Jeevan Reddy, submitted its report in year 2005. The committee recommended removal of AFSPA and the report said ““The Act is too sketchy, too bald and quite inadequate in several particulars. It is true that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has upheld its constitutional validity but that circumstance is not an endorsement of the desirability or advisability of the Act… besides… the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness”. However, in 2006 the then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil declined to make the report and recommendations public. The stress was on Manipur and North-East areas. In J&K, in the previous government headed by former chief Minister Omar Abdullah, repeal of the controversial law occupied more or less the centre stage. The then chief minister repeatedly assured revocation of the law, but at the same time on every such issue the coalition government was projected as functioning under compulsions. The NC-Congress coalition government was succeeded by PDP-BJP coalition government, which also made it a point to include it in the alliance agenda. Despite the flak that AFSPA has been inviting for over a decade now and assurances made by different governments and committees – AFSPA in Kashmir has stayed. In the last week of July 2015, when violence escalated after the killing of Hizb militant Burhan Wani, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urged the Centre to revoke AFSPA on trial basis from selected areas, to ‘win the hearts’ of the people. A section described it as a knee-jerk response and attempt aimed at pacifying the agitated youth. But she did make the call, and so did the previous chief minister and panels, committees and their members. But apparently the Centre has been playing deaf at all such times. AFSPA cannot stay, the sooner the government understands it the better the recovery to an era of peace in Kashmir is going to be.                             







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