Some parts of Kashmir may soon be free from the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA), thus paving the way for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), a long pending demand of political parties and human rights groups.
An indication to this effect was given by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at a police commemoration day function at Zewan, near here, on Friday.
“With the gradual improvement in the security situation and return of peace, some laws [like AFSPA] will be removed from some areas in the next few days,” he said.
Allaying fears about the security situation in these areas after the withdrawal of the AFSPA, Mr. Abdullah reposed confidence in the police, saying: “they are capable of shouldering the responsibilities with capacity and calibre. “The return of peace in the State is due to the sacrifices of the police along with other forces,” he said.
The government always believed that the dividends of peace should reach the people and laws imposed at the start of militancy removed with the gradual improvement in the law and order situation. “We want peace to be restored across the State so that all laws imposed are revoked.”
The DAA was enacted in early 1990. Initially, the Kashmir Valley was brought under it to extend the AFSPA to effectively fight militancy. Later, various districts of Jammu came under it. Political parties and human rights groups believe the AFSPA has given unbridled powers to the security forces. They have alleged that security personnel go scot-free even after committing serious rights violations.
Paying rich tributes to the martyrs, Mr. Abdullah said the sacrifices made by themto counter militancy, safeguard the lives and property of people and maintain peace would always earn them the nation's respect. On this year's peaceful summer, he acknowledged the efforts of both the police and the people. “Though attempts were made to ignite disturbances and exploit public sentiments, people refused to fall prey to the designs of the vested interests.” Many steps, including constant public-police rapport, contributed positively in this direction.