Omar needs more clarity on AFSPA: BJP

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Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is a law that enables the Army to come to the aid of the civil administration in Jammu and Kashmir. The Army is basically not meant for operating in a civilian environment and is very happy staying in the barracks. It helps the civilian government whenever asked to do so and for that role, it needs the backing of the AFSPA, the BJP state spokesperson, Mr Arun Kumar Gupta has said.

Given this background, it is unfortunate that the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is trying to mislead the masses on this sensitive issue. As the Home Minister of J&K, he knows only too well the perils this state faces due to interference by Pakistan. As such, he should desist from making any juvenile statement about this much-needed law. His misleading comments about AFSPA are highly condemnable, Mr Gupta added.

The Centre will take a call on AFSPA depending upon the inputs it gets from the security forces. It is forever watchful and keeps developments in J&K on its radar for scrutiny. For Mr Abdullah to then say that the Centre should “seriously consider’’ the issue of AFSPA is unfortunate and grossly wrong, the BJP spokesperson said.

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The insinuation inherent in Mr Abdullah’s statement is that the Centre is not watching the developments in the state closely enough. This is not correct and is untrue as the Central government keeps itself abreast of the developments in the state all the time. Mr Abdullah should disabuse himself of any misdirected notions he may be harbouring, Mr Gupta said.

In fact, the truth is that Mr Abdullah knows only too well that his government is in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) already and its life will be snuffed out in the coming elections. Given this, he is lowering the dignity of his office by politicising a vital issue as AFSPA to keep afloat by hook or crook. The CM should not allow the writing on the wall, which is about the demise of his government, to cloud his vision and play dirty politics, the BJP leader said.

The CM will do well to do his homework better and study the implications of his demand for the removal of AFSPA. Under this Act, an officer of the armed forces has powers to “destroy any arms dump, hideouts and training camps’’. AFSPA also enables an officer of the armed forces to “enter into and search any premises in order to make arrests, or recover any person wrongfully restrained’’.

All these empowering provisions for the Central security forces will vanish if AFSPA is removed prematurely as sought by the CM. It will be much better if the CM focuses on relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims in the state. Even otherwise, masses elsewhere in the state have been victims of the incompetence of his government, and will heave a sigh of relief once it goes, Mr Gupta said.

He suggested that the CM should stop politicking as the AFSPA is basically imposed only when the civil administration finds itself threatened and needs the help of the Central forces. AFSPA comes to the aid of the civil administration in emergency war-like situations and it is highly improper for the CM to demand its revocation, even if in phased manner, the BJP leader added.