By alternately blaming his coalition partner, Congress, and the Army for creating hurdles in the way of removing the draconian Armed Forces Special Act (AFSPA) from some parts of the State (and not its total revocation) Omar Abdullah has betrayed both his political imbecility and helplessness in fulfilling his obligations as head of the state administration. Talking to mediapersons after commissioning the power grid in Shopian in South Kashmir on Wednesday the chief minister said that the army was the biggest hurdle in the removal of AFSPA adding that he would be taking up this issue with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister in the scheduled internal security meeting on June 5 in New Delhi. This is not the first time that Omar had blamed the Army for his failure to revoke this draconian law which has been grossly misused to resort to grave human rights abuses. Still he feels helpless to get AFSPA revoked even from the areas where it was not in operation. By suggesting only partial and gradual removal of AFSPA the chief minister only justifies the validity and constitutional propriety of this black law, which violates the Constitution of India in as for as the citizens fundamental rights are concerned.
In the first place AFSPA is not the only lawless law which is in force in the troubled state which has been the instrument for repression and which fringes upon the basic rights of the people of the State. There are several other laws enacted by the State legislature itself which violate the citizens rights and have been blatantly misused by the successive regimes in the State to deny basic rights to the citizens and silence every voice of dissent. The human rights abuses are not caused by the misuse of AFSPA alone but several other laws, particularly the J&K Public Safety Act, which have been used by the state to muzzle the voice of the people and suppress their political urges and aspirations. A large number of citizens including the minors have been frequently booked under this black law which should have no place on the statute book of any democratic state. A large number of people are still languishing in jails without any trial and without even informed about the grounds of their detention. Then the provisions of an opaque criminal procedure law has been blatantly misused by the despotic state administration to deny the citizens their basic right to hold rallies and processions to articulate their aspirations and demands.
If the chief minister is really concerned about the human rights of the citizens then what is preventing him fro, repealing the PSA and amending the criminal procedure code and other laws which go against the spirit of democracy and which have been instruments for repression. As for as the AFSPA is concerned its partial lifting from the areas where it was never used will not serve any purpose. This is simply a case of window dressing and political chicanery. This dreaded law must go lock, stock and barrel as it should not have any place on the statute book of any democracy worth its name. For putting an end to the human rights abuses it is imperative that AFSPA is removed from the areas where it has been in operation and where it has been misused to resort to grave human rights abuses. AFSPA can be made applicable only in the areas which are declared as disturbed by the State government (and not the Centre) under the J&K Disturbed Areas Act, which is a state law. What prevents the CM from revoking this draconian law which will automatically make the AFSPA virtually redundant.