Tripura lifts AFSPA; PDP too demands it in J&K

Rajat Kain

kashmirrr_firingIn a move that will have a far reaching ramifications on the issue of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), the government of Tripura on Friday decided to lift the law that has been described from a one contentious to draconian by the human rights lobby. The law, which lends immunity to the defence and police personnel from facing a legal scrutiny has been in effect in the state since Februray 1997.

The left front government of Tripura passed a resolution recommending the revocation of the AFSPA and the same will now be sent to the Union Home Ministry for final approval.

“We have reviewed the situation of the disturbed areas after every six months and also discussed the issue with the state police and other security forces working in the state. They suggested that there is no requirement of the Act now as the insurgency problem has largely been contained,” Tripiura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told the press.

The act was imposed in the state 18 years ago as it struggled on the law and order front following spurt of violence by the ultras and separatists forces.

“When the Act was imposed there were only 42 police stations and two-third of the entire police station areas were under this act. But now situation had improved.

Over the last few years, Tripura has seen a rapid decline in militancy, especially after the surrender of hundreds of militants since last five years. The ruling Left Front, which has been in power in Tripura since 1993, has been contemplating the withdrawal of the law for some time now. Former Home Minister P Chidambaram has also welcomed the move.

And on the expected lines, Tripura government’s decision has lent a reason for the incumbent People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to pitch for the revocation of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. PDP is running the state government in coalition with the BJP.

The law has been a subject of serious debate in the insurgency-prone state for the reports and allegations of rampant human rights violation by the security and paramilitary forces. The ruling party is of opinion that there is tangible improvement in the security situation in the state.

“The tangible improvement in security situation in Jammu and Kashmir needs to be reciprocated with matching measures like revocation of the controversial AFSPA so that people feel the real change on the ground,” PDP chief spokesperson Mehboob Beg claimed.

“This is of fundamental importance to allow the democratic institutions in the state to grow and flourish without having the feeling of being in the protective custody,” the senior leader added.