Special armed forces act to be more humane

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states is being reviewed but cannot be repealed, a top home ministry official said Tuesday.

“AFSPA is required to fight with insurgents, so it cannot be repealed. However, it is being reviewed and it will be made more humane by doing away with provisions like shoot at sight,” Home Secretary Gopal Pillai told IANS.

He indicated that the provision of extra-judicial executions is likely to be done away with. Pillai will head for Assam Wednesday to study the situation in the insurgency-hit state and address the press in Guwahati Friday.

AFSPA has often courted controversy as it gives a free hand to the armed forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.

Recently, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Home Minister P. Chidambaram demanding repeal of AFSPA.

Earlier, addressing a seminar in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Pillai had said: “Economic development and administrative reforms have to be undertaken to curtail insurgency.”

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