AFSPA Mandatory For J&K: Parrikar

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New Delhi: The AFSPA is mandatory if the Army has to be deployed in Jammu and Kashmir or any other state for internal security, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

“Mine is not the Ministry to decide about it (AFSPA). It is very simple that if the Act is existing in that particular area, the Army can operate in that area. If it is not there, Army can’t operate there,” Parrikar said.

He was replying to a question about his Ministry’s stand on J&K government’s demand to scrap the controversial AFSPA in the state.

However, the Defence Minister said the decision to lift AFSPA has to be taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“Army’s job is not internal security. Let me be very clear on that. It is not my job to maintain internal security but if I am given a task for internal security then there have to be appropriate powers. Those powers come to me through AFSPA,” Parrikar said.

Giving example of Manipur, he said AFSPA has been removed from some areas and the army is not operating there.

Victory for sanity

New Delhi/Srinagar: Tripura government’s decision to withdraw AFSPA from the state was on Thursday hailed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram as victory for sanity and humanity while Hurriyat’s moderate faction hoped it will serve as an “eye opener” for political parties in Jammu and Kashmir.

“My plea to repeal AFSPA heard in Tripura. AFSPA withdrawn. Victory for sanity and humanity,” Chidambaram wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

The senior Congress leader had strongly advocated, as Union Home Minister, for repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

“Some things do not have a place in a civilised country. One of them is AFSPA,” he had said recently.

Welcoming the decision, CPI demanded that the Centre repeal the law.

Expressing concern over alleged abuse of the act leading to violation of human and democratic rights of locals resulting in their alienation, CPI said that what the CPI-M government had done in Tripura is the “right thing”.

“There has been the demand in North-East including Manipur that AFSPA be repealed. A similar demand has also been raised in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Over the years, use and abuse of the act has led to violation of human and democratic rights and led to alienation of local people. The new situation demands that Centre should review the situation and ensure AFSPA is repealed. Tripura has done the right thing,” CPI leader D Raja said.

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