Panels to Speed Up Recommendations on AFSPA

Jammu, Nov 10 (IANS): The Unified Command Wednesday evening asked the two panels looking into the question of revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to "speed up" their recommendations.

The two panels, with two Corps Commanders of the Indian Army, Director General of Police and Principal Secretary, Home, were constituted in September last year to suggest the areas from where the Disturbed Area Act and AFSPA could be lifted. But the panels were not able to finalise their recommendations.

Official sources told IANS at the conclusion of more than three-hour-long meeting of the unified command held in the civil secretariat and chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and senior army commanders, that it has been decided to "speed up the work and make recommendations about the removal of AFSPA as early as possible".

"However, no deadline has been suggested at the meeting," the official told IANS.

Wednesday's meeting was focused on revocation of AFSPA. The chief minister reiterated the points that he had made at a press conference in the morning that the "Government cannot wait for the last gun to fall silent for the removal of the AFSPA", the sources said.

Abdullah also wanted know why the army was being granted protection in the areas where it has not operated for years. "I would like to know answers to these questions," he reportedly asked the army.

The army countered by saying that "terrorism was not area-specific". Its commanders put forth the point of the terror infrastructure that is in place and Pakistan and where terrorists are being trained and sent to Jammu and Kashmir for subversion and violence.

"Let Pakistan dismantle its terror infrastructure first and the terrorism is like a contagious disease which spreads fast, without giving notice, that has been the lesson of the past," one of the army commanders is reported to have argued.


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Title: Panels to Speed Up Recommendations on AFSPA

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