4,500 km 'yatra' against Special Powers Act begins
to Imphal anti-Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 'yatra'
covering 4,500 km began here Sunday "to generate public opinion"
for the withdrawal of the law from Jammu and Kashmir and the
Srinagar: The Jammu
and Kashmir government has decided to lift the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act [AFSPA] from some parts of the state, Chief
Minister Omar Abdullah said here Friday.
"Within some days, AFSPA will be removed from some areas. I am,
however, not in a position to disclose the names of those areas
right now," Abdullah said at the police commemoration parade in
this summer capital.
Abdullah had said on microblogging site Twitter Friday morning:
"For some it will be too much, for others not enough, but the way
I see it, it will be a significant beginning however small."
The decision was taken after the chief minister met union Home
Minister P. Chidambaram, sources said.
There has been a widespread demand from various rights groups and
social activists for the removal of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir,
which gives sweeping powers to security forces dealing with
Social activist Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep
Pandey started an anti-AFSPA journey from Srinagar to Imphal
Sunday. In Imphal, activist Irom Sharmila has been fasting for the
last 11 years for the repeal of AFSPA from Manipur.
Security forces and intelligence agencies have favoured a cautious
"Its removal will have to be cautiously calibrated with the
security situation in a particular area. An overview will also
have to be taken to ensure that areas from where the act is
removed do not become safe havens for insurgents as powers of the
security forces to operate in those areas would be limited after
AFSPA is repealed there," said an intelligence official.
The chief minister has been committed to the reduction of security
forces from areas where normalcy has returned and
militancy-related incidents have come down significantly.
"The legal way out has finally to be agreed upon between the state
and centre. The revocation of the disturbed areas act by the state
government would result in automatic repeal of AFSPA.
"Once AFSPA is removed from parts of the state, the exercise would
be gradually extended to other parts depending upon the security
scenario," an official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.