New Delhi/Tirupati, Dec 7 (UNI): Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday backed the demand for repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and said there is need for new beginning by removing it from areas where militancy has reduced.
At a press conference in Delhi, Mufti said repealing the AFSPA was part of the agenda of the party when it formed government in coalition with the BJP in the erstwhile state.
“It was a part of our agenda with the BJP. It wasn’t a secret. We believe AFSPA should be repealed in areas where militancy is lesser, it can be a good beginning,” Mufti said.
“We are in a democracy, how long can people be kept together by pointing guns at them,” she added.
The PDP chief, however, added that she did not expect that the government would take a step in that direction.
“This government will not think of it, they extended BSF jurisdiction in Punjab and West Bengal because they could not fight politically,” she said.
Demands for repeal of the AFSPA have come from several quarters, including BJP’s allies like National People’s Party (NPP) and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio and Meghalaya CM Cornard Sangma have demanded repeal of the Act in the Northeast. On Tuesday, the demand was also raised in the Lok Sabha by NPP MP Agatha Sangma.
Fourteen civilians were killed near Oting village in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4, after security forces fired on a truck carrying coal miners, and also at local villagers who came out in protest. A soldier was also killed as villagers attacked the convoy and set some vehicles on fire.
Another civilian died in Mon city on Sunday as locals protested against the incident. Some buildings of the Assam Rifles were also set on fire.
In Tirupati, the Communist Party of India (CPI) national general secretary, Dr K Narayana, demanded the withdrawal of special powers given to security forces in the North East.
He said it was tragic that both Prime Minister and Union Home Minister have apologised in Parliament for condemnable acts of security forces and put people of the country to shame.
In a statement here on Tuesday, the CPI leader said despite the left parties’ demand to not give extraordinary powers to security forces in NE states and police Modi government had granted the same and is now out to shame.
The security forces were shooting down civilians in NE states while police were killing agitating farmers. It is a shame that while security forces indiscriminately shoot down civilians the BJP is shedding crocodile tears and apologising in Parliament.