Steering away from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s comment that AFSPA should be revoked from some areas on experimental basis, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said the issue comes under the Home Ministry and it needs to take a call on the matter.
He said the Army was involved in security on the border and in counter-insurgency grid in the militancy-hit state. “I think the Home Ministry needs to take a call on it. We only operate. As of now, we are operating only in the border and counter-insurgency grid. We do not operate in the normal sphere of the state’s law and order,” Parrikar said when asked about Mehbooba’s comments.
He said that as far as Army is concerned, it has ensured that the border remains sealed and no infiltration bid is successful. “We are doing our job properly,” he said. Mehbooba had on Sunday asked the Centre to revoke AFSPA — the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act — on trial basis from selected areas as a beginning towards “winning the hearts” of people.
She said a start has to be made from somewhere to improve the situation in the state and suggested revocation of AFSPA from some areas, beginning with 25 to 50 police stations, as an experiment.
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, we were not saying that it should be revoked in one go. But, as a test case, on experimental basis, if it is revoked slowly and it can be seen how the situation remained in such areas.
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“If the situation remained well, then it should be revoked entirely or it it can be reimplemented if you feel that militancy did not allow it to be revoked,” the Chief Minister said.