Jammu and Kashmir to strip armed forces of special powers

February 26th, 2009 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Feb 26 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government has set in motion the process of revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to strip the armed forces of their special powers in the terrorism-hit state, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Thursday.
Abdullah made this announcement while replying to a debate on the withdrawal of the AFSPA and human rights violations. The debate was initiated by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the legislative assembly.

“We have started the process of revoking the AFSPA and Disturbed Area Act,” Omar told the house after members, mostly from the Kashmir Valley, demanded that the special powers of the armed forces be withdrawn and they be sent back to their barracks.

“The first step has been taken with the replacement of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Srinagar,” Abdullah said, amid thumping of desks by treasury benches.

Earlier, PDP legislature party leader Mehbooba Mufti lashed out at the government for “perpetuating the reign of terror in Kashmir, where the people are being pulled out of their homes and killed…”

“This must stop,” she said, adding for this, the government must recall the special powers of the army and paramilitary forces and order them back to barracks.

“Nothing short of that would assuage the people of Kashmir,” she said.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives powers to armed forces to carry out operations in disturbed areas. It was promulgated in Jammu and Kashmir in July 1990.

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