Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed today said his government will proceed with phased removal of AFSPA after consulting the Army as they have aired their apprehension over it. Mufti said that he cannot scrap AFSPA, which gives immunity from prosecution to the armed forces, in “one go” but assured that it will be removed gradually.
“Some areas will be de-notified from Disturbed Areas Act. By gradual process… I cannot do it in one go… but I will do it,” Mufti told Legislative Council on Monday on the issue of revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Jammu and Kashmir.
Mufti maintained that the Army, which is apprehensive over this move, will be taken on-board over the decision.
“I will do it with their (Army’s) consultation and after taking them on board,” Mufti said while replying in Council to the discussion of Governor’s joint address to state Legislature.
The Chief Minister said, “I want to say this that they (Army) have apprehensions (over revocation of AFSPA), I will not suddenly jump (to remove it). We will see how can we find out a way after a well thought on it”.
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, I have been Union Minister and Chief Minister of J&K. The Unified Command is accountable to us. There are all senior officers of various security forces including Corps commanders, they are accountable to us,” Mufti said.
He further said that there has been a lot of debate over removal of AFSPA and there is a need to relook at it.
“Our government advocates a phase-wise removal of AFSPA from the areas which have now been free of militancy for quite some time,” he said.
Referring to incidents at Chatergam and Macchil where the Centre took stern action against security personnel, the Chief Minister said that his Government is committed to take measures and examine the need to review the special laws being applied to the state.
“Prime Minister initiated a probe and impressed upon the Army to accept that two youth killed in Chatergan were innocent,” he said.
Referring to the issue of political prisoners in the state and the perception in media about the exact numbers, the Chief Minister said there are only 37 detainees under PSA.
“Among them, 20 are foreign nationals, while only 17 detained under PSA are locals. Why this hue and cry,” he asked.