Saturday, October 16, 2021

Can India Remove AFSPA from Kashmir?

Armed Forces Special Powers Acts or AFSPA are Acts of the Government of India that give extraordinary powers and complete immunity to the Indian Armed Forces in any “disturbed areas”.

The AFSPA or Armed Forces Special Powers Act has the power and backing from the Center to the Army and CRPF operating in disturbed areas like Kashmir. The AFSPA act empowers the security forces to use any weapon, any method to deal with any kind of situation. For their actions, the Indian security forces will not be accountable in any criminal court and thus enjoy complete immunity.

Can a State be Declared Disturbed and Brought under AFSPA?

To declare a state as disturbed, the state’s condition has to be critical where the security forces of a particular state are unble to meet the security challenges. So unless the state declares their state as disturbed, the Indian government technically has no right to implement AFSPA.

 

AFSPA
Irom Sharmila has long campaigned for removal of AFSPA from Manipur

However, the governor plays a key role in this. Indian governors in different states have got different level of powers. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, Governor has got additional powers for the law & order and civil administration which other governors do not have. If the state says that their state is normal, then the centre has no power to implement armed forces special power act. This is a difficult situation in Kashmir because the state government also includes the governor. The governor is usually a representative of the Center, so he works on the instructions of the Center, which makes the situation very tricky. After the state is declared disturbed under the Districts Area Act, the Government of India can implement AFSPA.

However, the situation is different in Kashmir because the state government also includes the governor. The governor is usually a representative of the Center, so he works on the instructions of the Center, which makes the situation in Kashmir very tricky. After the state is declared disturbed (with the help of the governor) the Government of India can implement AFSPA.

Do not forget that the army lobby in India is very strong unlike other democracies, where army lobby is not as strong. In communist countries like Soviet Russia and China, Army plays a vital role in decision-making, whereas in European Nations, it is completely different.

In a Nutshell, AFSPA can only be removed from Jammu and Kashmir if the India Defence Experts including the Indian Army give a favorable review to the Indian Government and for that to happen, Kashmiri separatists/militants would need to shun violence, which looks unlikely for the time being.

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