The contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives sweeping powers and immunity to military personnel in “disturbed areas” like Jammu and Kashmir and states in north east India, will be re-examined by the government so it can become “less open to misuse,” The Times of India (ToI) reported.
Several rounds of high-level discussions have taken place between the defence and home ministries, according to sources quoted by ToI, on the “need for removing or diluting some provisions” of the AFSPA in line with the Supreme Court’s judgments on “extra-judicial killings” and expert committee recommendations over the years.
The discussions have mainly been around Section 4 and 7 of the Act which are the ones that accord far-reaching powers and legal safeguards to the forces.
The AFSPA was first enacted by the Parliament in 1958 to tackle north-eastern insurgency and the defence establishment argues that it’s an “enabling act”, providing “operational flexibility and protection” to the personnel which operates in “extremely hostile environments” against militants and other “inimical forces.”
The Centre has rejected sanctioning the J&K government’s prosecution of military personnel in 47 of the 50 cases submitted since 2001, the Parliament was informed.
In Rajya Sabha last week, Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre said,” The reason for denial/pendency of prosecution sanction is on account of lack of sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case.”