Speculation Rife Over AFSPA Withdrawal From Jammu

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New Delhi- Speculation is rife over the possibility of lifting of AFSPA from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir after the controversial law was partially removed from three Northeastern states - Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) a geographical location is declared as disturbed area to facilitate operations of the armed forces.

"A highly sensitive decision like withdrawal of the AFSPA from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir can be taken only at the highest political level of the government on the basis of a thorough assessment of the ground situation," a senior government official said when asked about the matter.

There has been speculation that to send a positive political message, the government, if it takes any decision, may first make an analysis of the security situation of Jammu city only.

"Any consideration on tweaking the AFSPA in the Kashmir valley is very unlikely," the official said.

Citing Manipur, another official said, barring four police station areas, all the localities from where the AFSPA was withdrawn in the state were mostly in the Imphal city area.

The AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant besides giving immunity from arrest and prosecution to the security forces if they shoot someone dead.

In a major outreach to the Northeast, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 31 had announced reduction of the disturbed areas under the contentious AFSPA in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur from April 1, after decades.

There have been protests and demands for the complete withdrawal of the law from the Northeast as well as Jammu and Kashmir for its "draconian" provisions.

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