Finally, AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958) may be amended to make it more human, as per recent reports. AFSPA has been in force in NE and J&K for decades now and there have always been demands to repeal it.
Notwithstanding opposition from the Army and faced with reports of fake encounters, the government is planning to go ahead with certain amendments in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which includes handing over of an Army personnel in case of extra-judicial killings to the state authorities.
While of late, Army officials have been raising issues and even terming AFSPA as a ‘holy book’, government sources feel that there was a need to give a fresh look to the act and make it more humane.
A draft note has been circulated to the law and defence ministries for their comments as the UPA government continues to strive hard to fulfil the assurance made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in carrying out a thorough review of the AFSPA and making it more humane, the sources said.
Once an view is firmed up, the amendments would be listed before the Cabinet Committee on Security, they said.
The AFSPA gives the Army the powers to detain and, if the situation warrants, eliminate suspected terrorists when they are fighting insurgents without the fear of prosecution.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act only in force in some areas in Kashmir and insurgency-affected states in the north east.
The Second Administrative Reforms Committee had suggested to the government replacing of the Act with an amended law which gives the centre the right to deploy the Army or para-military forces in situations involving national security.
According to the sources, the amendments also include handing over of Army personnel, who allegedly indulge in fake killings, to the local police authorities for prosecution.
The issue of amendments has been regularly been raised by Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah with several senior Central leaders including the Prime Minister and home minister P Chidambaram.
News Source : Times Of India.