Revoke Disturbed Areas in Kashmir towns: CPI-M

New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Pointing to excesses by security forces, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Prakash Karat has sought the revocation of Disturbed Areas in Srinagar and other urban centres in the Kashmir Valley.

"Given the sharp decrease in the levels of militant violence, there should be a reduction in the deployment of the army and the security forces proportionately," Karat said at an all-party meeting on Kashmir convened here Wednesday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"Here the question of the continuance of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) arises," he said, referring to a legislation that gives sweeping powers to security forces and which many in the Kashmir Valley say should go.

"The army is not deployed or in use in Srinagar and other cities. Pending the question of amending AFSPA or the future of this act, what we suggest is that the Disturbed Areas proclamation be revoked from Srinagar and other urban centres.

"This will make the AFSPA redundant in these areas... The armed forces are conducting an arduous and difficult task and their work has to be concentrated on checking infiltration (militants) from across the border," he said.

"The real issue is about the accountability of the security forces" Karat added. "There have been excesses and violations of human rights... Without firm action, we cannot instil any faith in the (Kashmiri) people."

The CPI-M released the text of Karat's speech Thursday.

The Marxist pointed out that many of the 90 people killed in firing by security forces in the Kashmir Valley since June 11 were aged between nine and 25 years.

"Repeated police firings and every death has further aggravated the situation," he said. "There was no justification for this brutal policing methods."

He said that there had to be a political approach to the Kashmir problem. "There can be no solution by just deploying the security forces to suppress such protests."

Karat demanded that many of the young boys in jail should be released if they were not facing serious charges. "Juveniles should not be kept in prisons."

He said many had been permanently incapacitated in firing. "The government should announce a specific package for relief for these people and also for the sustenance and livelihood of their families."

Karat said when he went to Srinagar in August, many asked him why the Indian parliament showed no great concern over the killing of such a large number of people in the Kashmir Valley.

"In parliament, there was an uproar when three people died in police firing near Aligarh. They asked, why is parliament quiet about the happenings in the valley?"


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Title: Revoke Disturbed Areas in Kashmir towns: CPI-M

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