AFSPA is not to protect acts of crime: Omar

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 16:04

Jammu: Citing the Supreme Court`s recent
observation, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,
who has been pitching for partial revocation of Armed Force
Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state, on Tuesday said the
statute was not aimed at protecting acts of crime.

"AFSPA is for legitimate protection and not for protection
of the acts of crime. And that is something we have always
maintained," Omar told reporters here.

The Chief Minister, who was reviewing restoration work at
the erstwhile Dogra power centre - Mubarak Mandi heritage
complex in Jammu, said, "AFSPA protection is given to the
personnel so that they not become victims of the law while
rendering their (anti-militancy operational) duties."

Omar said, "I do not think the armed forces have to commit
rape, murder or any other such activities in order to perform
their duties.

"Therefore the observation of the Supreme Court is

Questioning the extent to which the army can claim blanket
immunity under AFSPA, the Supreme Court had said rape and
murder committed by its personnel should be considered a
"normal crime", and that there is "no question of sanction"
from the government before prosecution of offenders in such

Under AFSPA, prior approval is required before
prosecution or any other legal action can be initiated against
armed forces personnel operating in areas declared "disturbed"
by the government.

"You go to a place in exercise of AFSPA, you commit
rape, you commit murder, then where is the question of
sanction? It is a normal crime which needs to be prosecuted,
and that is our stand," an apex court bench of justices BS
Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar had remarked.

The court said AFSPA gave "very limited protection"
confined to action in "discharge of duty".

The court was hearing the CBI challenge against the
army`s invocation of AFSPA against prosecution of eight
officers chargesheeted in the Pathribal fake encounter in
March 2000.

While the five men were identified as Lashkar-e-Toiba
mercenaries by the army, they had turned out to be locals from
nearby villages of Brariangan, Halan and Anantnag.


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First Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 16:04

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