AFSPA issue to be raised in parliament: LeftNovember 17th, 2011 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The Left parties supported by the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Thursday asked the government to withdraw the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of Jammu and Kashmir and vowed to raise the issue during the upcoming winter session of parliament.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan unequivocally supported Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s demand for partial withdrawal of the act that gives sweeping powers to the armed forces in fighting militants.
The two leaders were addressing reporters here on the initiative of the Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA), a Delhi-based think tank that claims to be working for Kashmir.
LJP chief Vilasrao Paswan and Shahid Siddiqui of the RLD also supported the demand of the Left parties.
“Militancy and violence have come down drastically in Kashmir. The army is not deployed in most of the urban areas. We were given a clear understanding by the central government that there will be a review of AFSPA. There was an unwritten assurance that it will be withdrawn from some areas,” Karat said.
Karat said he was unable to understand why the army was opposed to the idea of withdrawing the AFSPA from the areas where they are not in command.
“There seems to be a vested interest. There is a clear cut need to bring down the number of security forces from Jammu and Kashmir,” Karat said.
Bardhan, claiming to have the support of major non-Bharatiya Janata Party and non-Congress parties, said continuing with the AFSPA in Kashmir was “atrocious”.
“There are strong grounds for withdrawing the act. We will also conduct public meetings all over the country on the issue,” Bardhan said.
Paswan said the issue of lifting the controversial act was also discussed in an all-party meeting held last year after three-month-long violent street protests left over 100 people dead in Kashmir.
He said a parliamentary delegation that went to Jammu and Kashmir last year had also vouched for lifting the law. “We will have a full discussion on Kashmir in the winter session now,” he said.