Barely 24 hours after GOC-IN-C of Northern Command Lt Gen KT Parnaik made it clear that in view of the prevailing ‘fragile’ peace in the state of Jammu and Kashmir it would not be appropriate to disempower the armed forces by partially revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
Two senior National Conference leaders including one Member Parliament have once again labeled Army as the biggest stumbling block in the path of revocation of AFSPA from the peaceful districts of the state.
Apparently, the National Conference leadership is bent upon creating a debate over the contentious issue in the run up to the Assembly polls to score some brownie points and win votes in the Kashmir valley.
In the process they are just not ready to lend credence to security assessment made by the army authorities from time to time in view of the changing dynamics on the ground zero. The National Conference leadership is also keeping its eyes shut to series of militant strikes, encounters and the prevailing law and order situation in the state.
It is ironical, soon after any one in the security establishment or the Central govt share their view point on the issue of AFSPA they start criticizing the presence of the Army in the state without acknowledging the sacrifices made by the armed forces in normalizing the situation and bringing down the level of militant violence in the state.
Reacting to the statement of the senior army officer of the Northern Command the National Conference leaders on Tuesday refused to acknowledge the assessment made by the officer and termed his reaction as ‘threat to democracy’.
“In a democratic country political statements issued by Army could prove dangerous. I fail to understand in what capacity Lt General K T Parnaik has given such statement when we have an elected government .Such decisions are to be taken by elected Chief Minster not by Army. Government of India should stop Army from issuing such statements,” Mehboob Baig said.
Baig further said, “AFSPA should at least be revoked form the peaceful areas. If army claims that peace has returned to the Valley then why they oppose its revocation?
Meanwhile Commenting on the statement of General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt General K T Parnaik, National Conference General Secretary Mustafa Kamal said, “Army is trying to scuttle the revocation of the act to save its troops from accountability. Army has no role in revocation of AFSPA .If army claims that Act is need for them for counter insurgency then it would have save four army men in Tral during the recent encounter.
“Time has come when GOI should revoke the law beyond the interests of Army as they used it as shield in their unlawful activities”.
He said, “Army have committed ‘heinous crimes’ in Kashmir and has actually misused the act for their personal interest. Army is actually aware that if this law is removed from the scene they will be held answerable for their unlawful activities”, Kamal said.