Action Against Army Can Be Taken Despite AFSPA
SRINAGAR: Daring the chief minister to quit if he felt so helpless on killings by the army, senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig on Wednesday announced his resignation from the assembly, asking the speaker to accept it the moment Omar Abdullah puts in his papers.
The former deputy chief ministers sudden move came amid a special discussion in the Lower House on the killing of young Tahir Rasool Sofi in army firing in Baramulla yesterday.
He was replying to the chief ministers emotional speech the previous day where Abdullah had lamented the limitations of his powers before the AFSPA and extended Beigs charges of him being a daily-wager to former incumbents as well.
Speaking in the assembly today, Beig insisted that the state government could take action against army personnel involved in killings of civilians and other human rights violations despite the AFSPA being in force.
A reputed legal expert in his own right, the PDP leader cited several Supreme Court rulings to underpin his argument that action could be taken against such personnel despite the umbrella of the special law.
Leaving the assembly after handing a copy of his conditional resignation to the speaker, Beig later said that the entire House and its members were helpless if its leader, the chief minister, said that he was helpless.
If the members of the assembly are helpless, what credibility does the House have? he asked.
We ask the masses to shun boycott calls and cast their votes in elections. They heed our calls, and turn out in large numbers at polling booths. Will they not ask us what we have done to ensure their security? Beig said.
Governments cannot be run by weeping and wailing or making emotional speeches. Nor can the demands of justice be satisfied by pleading helplessness, he said.
If the chief minister feels so helpless before the AFSPA, let me tell him that under Supreme Court rulings and army guidelines and code of conduct, the armed forces personnel cannot take any action without the presence of the police and permission from a magistrate, he said.
If they take action without meeting such conditions, they can be prosecuted under law, he said.
If massive protests have to be broken up, one can at the most fire into the air or into the ground, or issue warnings in their own language he said. But if the demonstration still continues to be violent, personnel can fire at legs to disperse them.
But in the Baramulla incident yesterday, the army opened fire without any permission from the magistrate, leaving one youth dead and several other injured, he said.
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