Taking their cue from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s prompt reaction to the Justice Verma Committee report, Jammu and Kashmir government officials have begun a comprehensive exercise to review the laws related to crime against women and the special powers of the armed forces.
“Glad to see that the committee has recommended amending of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act to ensure sexual crimes are punished without special sanction. Hope these recommendations are implemented, which is actually the difficult part,” Mr. Abdullah posted on Twitter immediately after the report came out on Wednesday. “While Parliament will do what it has to but I promise the people of State that we will look at the Verma Committee report with all seriousness,” he added.
“I will propose an all-party meeting to discuss the recommendations of the Committee so that as many as possible are implemented in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted.
Over the last four years, Mr. Abdullah has grown as an ardent advocate of revoking the AFSPA and relocating troops in the Valley, which was primarily the slogan of the secessionist militant and political groups, a section of the civil society in Kashmir and Mufti Sayeed’s mainstream Opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Minister in charge of Law and Parliamentary Affairs Mir Saifullah told The Hindu that the officials of the Law Department, in close coordination with the Advocate General, already began the exercise of reviewing all laws related to the crime against women and the special powers enjoyed by the security forces. Advocate-General Mohammad Ishaq Qadiri said the Law Department had conducted a comprehensive exercise on the crucial subject long before the Verma Committee report became public. He claimed the document prepared by the State government contained not only numerous recommendations of the Verma report but also others like creation of a Law Commission and a panel of prosecutors in different regions of the State.
“Some of our proposals match directly those recommended by the Verma panel. Others are partly identical. It’s clear that we are going to amend the State’s code so as to ensure that no public servant, including the men of the police and the armed forces, escape with impunity for the crimes committed against women,” Mr. Qadiri told The Hindu .