Malik, Mehbooba Welcome Chidambaram’s Assurance To Review Armed Forces Act
13 June 2009
: The leaders of a number of political parties, as well as separatist outfits in Kashmir have welcomed Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s suggestion to review the Armed Force Special Power Act (AFSPA) that is currently in force in the valley region. Chidambaram had made these comments during his visit to Kashmir to review the security situation in the region on Thursday. Yaseen Malik, Chairman of separatist Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), termed the statement of Chidambaram as a positive development, and said that such a move would be a major factor to win over the public confidence by the Central Government. “The Army Chief is saying that the level of violence is negligible, Chidambaram has himself said that the level of violence has dropped substantially. So the need of the hour is to respond positively to the situation and the biggest CBM (Confidence Building Measure) in this regard will be revoking the Armed Force Special Power Act and dismantling the camps (security) in the villages,” he added. Mehbooba Mufti, President of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), also expressed happiness over Chidambaram’s statement. She said that the Act could be scrapped in parts of Kashmir, if not the entire state, so as to mark a beginning. “The Armed Force Special Power Act can at least be revoked in Srinagar. One can also start withdrawing the army from Bargam so that the people at least feel that the government of India is seriously doing something for them,” she said. The AFSPA gives sweeping powers to security forces to carry out operations in disturbed areas. It was promulgated in Jammu and Kashmir in July 1990.