AFSPA Has To Go: Mahbooba

21 June 2009
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: Stressing for meaningful and substantial measures to redress the grievances of the general masses, Peoples Democratic Party President Mahbooba Mufti has said that Jammu and Kashmir had suffered too long and it was now time for an honorable and dignified resolution of the problem. Addressing a public meeting at Wakoora in Ganderbal to carry forward the party campaign for revocation of AFSPA and demilitarization of civilian areas, Mahbooba said violence and political instability in the state had caused deep scars and resulted in countless tragedies. “It was therefore necessary for the leaders of South Asia to display a higher degree of statesmanship to reach out to the people here in pursuit of lasting peace,” she said. The PDP president said it was the belief of her party that in order to create an atmosphere conducive to resolution, substantial measures to restore the confidence of people were unavoidable. “And nothing more meaningful could be thought of than allowing people to live their life without the intruding presence of troopers, who are empowered even to kill without any accountability,” she stressed. Referring to party’s campaign against the draconian laws, she said, “It was a welcome sign that even those who had initially ridiculed the demand as hollow slogans had now fallen in line. Even the Working Groups constituted by the Prime Minister had endorsed the demand. It was now a political and moral responsibility of the Prime Minister to implement the recommendations”. Mahbooba said that people of the state had emphatically rejected violence as a means of their political struggle, but that should not be taken as a license to push the problem once again under the carpet. “Government of India should respond to the faith we reposed in democratic process through substantial measures as the time for mere promises and consideration had passed. Nothing short of revoking AFSPA and demilitarization of civilian areas could signal seriousness of government’s intentions to solve the problem once for all,” she said. The PDP president said as long as troopers enjoyed the legal cover under AFSPA it was impossible to arrest the rising trend of human rights violations. “In spite of initiating action in some cases the government could not proceed against the uniform personal even where cases had been proved beyond a shadow of doubt. There has been no headway in the fake encounter case that took place in Ganderbal a couple of years back in which innocents were shot dead by men in uniform just to grab promotions and rewards. Similarly, in the infamous Pathribal case the courts are finding it impossible to punish the accused who have taken refuge under the AFSPA. These instances make it clear that the special laws are creating more problems than they solve and need to go immediately,” she said.