New Delhi: A day
after the United Nations Special Rapporteur asked India to repeal
the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Home Minister P.
Chidambaram Saturday said his ministry has sought amendments in
the AFSPA which were pending before the Cabinet Committee on
"These pertain to three sections in the AFSPA and it is pending
before the CCS," Chidambaram said when asked about the comments
made by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions Christof Heyns.
Chidambaram said the report of the UN Rapporteur was both negative
"The rapporteur has praised the openness and willingness of the
government of India to engage, shown also by the fact that there
it was willing to host a mission dealing with the right to life,
an area in which issues to be tackled are often complex in various
countries," he said.
He stressed that the UN Rapporteur had made "some positive
"Yes, we take note of the view but that's not a novel view as
there are a number of people who have expressed the same view and
there are others who have a contrary view, which is why the issue
remains unresolved," he said.
"After considering the Justice Jeevan Reddy report and all other
reports, the view of the ministry of home affairs is that three
amendments should be made to the AFSPA," he said without
elaborating on the proposed amendments.
The amendments, according to sources, relate to taking arrests
warrants in advance, taking away the power of the armed forces to
open fire causing death and setting up of a grievance redressal
Stressing that a law such as AFSPA has no role to play in a
democracy, Heynes describing the AFSPA, which has been in force in
Jammu and Kashmir and some parts of northeastern states, as a
symbol of "excessive state power".
The repeal of this law, he said, will not only "bring domestic law
more in line with international; standards, but also send out a
powerful message that instead of a military approach, the
government is committed to respect for the right to life of all
people in the country under a ordinary law and order and human
Indian authorities deny violations of human rights and say that
the legislation is necessary to wipe out insurgents.
Heyns put together his report after numerous testimonies from
families of victims who had been killed in alleged arbitrary
executions by security forces.
After a 12-day fact-finding visit, Heyns also backed the Indian
government's stand on the Maoists and condemned deadly violence
unleashed by the rebels. He will submit a report of his findings
to the UN Human Rights Council next year.
"Deadly violence has been used by Maoists, insurgents and
terrorists in India. The callous nature in which lives, often of
innocent civilians, are taken by these non-state actors, need to
be condemned strongly," Heyns told reporters here.
"The state has a right to defend itself against such aggression,
provided, of course, it abides by the international standards in
this regard. The state cannot adopt unlawful or unconstitutional
means or create a vigilante force to counter such violence," he