Revoke AFSPA as first step to resolve Kashmir: Mufti to centre

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JAMMU: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the continued use of a law of emergency nature like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is against the letter and spirit of the constitution and amounts to denial of fundamental rights to life and liberty enshrined in it. Reiterating his party’s stand on the revocation of the special law the party patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed today said the very claim of our country to a democratic system suffers a blow when the people of an entire state are denied fundamental rights on the pretext of security.

Mufti said he had been advocating the revocation of AFSPA since 2007 when the prime minister had on his suggestion had appointed a high powered committee to examine the issue. He said continuing the law to operate in the changed circumstances when the militancy is substantially reduced and people have overwhelmingly participated in democratic process is a hurdle in complete normalcy and a set back to peace process. “J&K cannot be eternally governed through black laws if the region has to come out of its painful history of discord and destabilisation,” Mufti said.

He said that while it was undeniable that the Kashmir issue had to be resolved amicably to achieve lasting peace, the reversal of that process after the present government took over is partly the result of oppression and mis-governance inflicted on people. He said the level of disaffection among the people only rose during the last four years and the arrogant attitude of government added fuel to the fires caused by a series of atrocities committed by its forces.

Terming the latest suggestion of using Army in controlling unrest among people as a serious setback to process of normalisation, Mufti said any civilian government having to resort to it is not worth the representative character it claims. “Can there be a more profound evidence of a government’s failure” he asked. The claim of such a government of trying to lift AFSPA is no more than another hollow slogan of national conference that has lived off such gimmicks for most part of their history, he added.

Mufti said it was unfortunate that this government had lost its way on all fronts including governance, development and people’s security. “The government is trying to terrorise people into silence and in attempting that all norms of decency have been violated,” he said. 

Mufti said thousands of youth have been framed in false cases and currently a fresh wave of arrests has seen hundreds more in jails including teenaged children. He said there were reports that parents were being arrested and tortured to ensure ‘good conduct of their sons’. The use of cruel methods of crowd control had resulted in hundreds getting affected seriously. “This government has apart from demonising an entire generation of youth created a new industry of crowd control which is exclusive to J&K. In other parts of the country governments are taken to task for minor aberrations of law and order machinery but is our state pepper bombs and pellet guns are projected as a mercy because they don’t kill instantly,” Mufti said. 

Calling for engagement of people in a democratic manner, Mufti said all strong arm tactics have only short term impact. By capitulating on major issues the state government has failed to safeguard the interests and dignity of the state and it has reduced itself to a scavenging job, but government of India cannot escape its primary duty towards the people of the state without further complicating the problems. He said unless the democratic aspirations of the people which they repeatedly expressed since 2002 are reciprocated in ample measure Kashmir will continue to simmer and suffer. “Removal of AFSPA and complete restoration of democratic institutions and spirit are the first essential steps in resolution of the problem,” he stressed. 

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