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Updated: May 29, 2010 23:11 IST

Mufti demands revocation of AFSPA

Shujaat Bukhari
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Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
PTI
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Saturday called for convening a special session of the Assembly to pass a resolution on revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in view of the increasing human rights violations.

Reacting to the killing of three youths in a “fake encounter” in Kupwara district last month, Mr. Sayeed blamed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for this situation, saying that it had cast a shadow over “even genuine encounters.” “Who knows there may be many more such incidents,” he told journalists here.

Machil encounter

“The fake encounter at Machil raises many questions, casting doubt on the entire range of encounters” he said. The Chief Minister as head of Unified Headquarters cannot shirk responsibility in what he called “an organised racket.” He said it was important at this stage to discuss the issue with seriousness.

“That is why we call upon the government to convene a special session of the State Legislature where human rights would be the only subject and a resolution will be presented for revocation of AFSPA. I expect unanimity in passing such a resolution,” Mr. Sayeed said.

The PDP founder alleged that fake encounters were staged only for medals and rewards or to strengthen the argument in support of continuation of AFSPA, which was otherwise repugnant to the ethos, idea and spirit of India. “It suggests a larger web of murder for promotions and medals,” he said.

Doubts probe

Mr. Sayeed also doubted the sincerity of the probe ordered into the incident, saying that “there is nothing to boast about.” “All this will be mere promise like the Pathribal case and no prompt action will happen on the ground. The magisterial inquiry into such a huge scandal amounts to rubbing salt to the wound.”

He argued that if there were fewer militants operating in the State as per the Intelligence reports, then why continue with the AFSPA and such a large number of troops. In this backdrop, he said: “The whole range of encounters is doubtful now. We have just stumbled on one fake encounter. There might be a whole series of it. It might be a part of a bigger design.”

Meeting with Manmohan

Mr. Sayeed recalled his recent meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he highlighted that steps needed to be taken for revoking the AFSPA. “This has been recommended by the Working Group set up by the Prime Minister himself.”

“Nothing happened even after the Prime Minister's promises,” he said.

On the coming visit of Dr. Singh to the Valley, the Mufti said it could have been an opportunity to restart the internal dialogue process. “But the new situation could cast a cloud on it. It must be an eye-opener for the Prime Minister.” However, the Mufti said that these incidents cannot subvert the reconciliation process between India and Pakistan. “It is time for the entire political class and civil society of India to introspect and change their response to the problem,” he said.

‘Rot in regime'

Mr. Sayeed referred to the various human rights violations that took place since January 2009, and said: “The killing of a disabled person on Gupkar, the Shopian incident, the killing of youth in Srinagar and the random slapping of PSA on youth reflect the rot that started with the installation of the present government.”

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