AFSPA Not to Protect Acts of Crime: Kashmir CM

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Srinagar, Feb 7: Welcoming the observation of the Supreme Court of India on controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), Chief Minister of Indian administered Kashmir Omar Abdullah Tuesday said the Act was not for the protection of the acts of crime.

“AFSPA is for legitimate protection and not for protection of acts of crime. It is something we have always maintained,” Omar told the media during a function in the winter capital.

Maintaining that observation of the Supreme Court of India is correct, he said, “AFSPA gives protection to armed forces so that they don’t fall victims of the law while rendering their (anti-militancy operational) duties.”

“I don’t think that any force needs support of rape or murder or such other activities to perform their duties,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court, during its recent observation, had said that the rape and murder committed by security men should be considered a “normal crime” and that there is “no question of sanction” from the government before prosecution of offenders in such cases.

Under AFSPA, prior approval is required before prosecution or any other legal action can be initiated against armed forces personnel operating in areas declared “disturbed” by the government.

The chief minister, some pro-Indian Kashmiri leaders and separatist leaders have been demanding removal of AFSPA from Kashmir.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.