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Centre working to amend AFSPA, restrict its use

Last Updated: Saturday, August 1, 2009 - 19:32

New Delhi: In the backdrop of demands for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Centre on Saturday said it was working to amend the controversial legislation and exploring ways to "limit its application" to some areas.
"We are also looking at limiting the application of the
AFSPA to some areas. That is the goal over a period of time.
In consultation with the state government, we will have to
take a look at that," Home Minister P Chidambaram told
reporters here.

He said the Centre was looking at bringing amendments
to the Act, which has drawn prolonged protests in Jammu and
Kashmir and parts of the Northeast after the legislation came
into force there.

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have been
demanding repeal of AFSPA contending that they give unfettered
powers to armed forces.

"The AFSPA amendments are getting ready. At the moment,
we are looking at the amendments to the AFSPA. I cannot
disclose the nature of the amendments because that has to go
through the Cabinet process," Chidambaram said.

J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had also demanded
withdrawal of the Act and there have been deliberations
with the armed forces over the issue.

"We had promised to revisit the subject after the
elections. We have revisited the subject," Chidambaram said.

The Centre is expected to explore possibility of phased
withdrawal of the anti-terror law in two districts of Kashmir–
Srinagar and Budgam – and two in Jammu region – Jammu and
Kathua -- as these districts have registered minimum violence
for past one year.

Army Chief Deepak Kapoor had discussed the issue of
the AFSPA with Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra during his
recent visit to Srinagar.

Manipur had witnessed violent protests demanding the
repeal of the Act.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 1, 2009 - 19:32
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