Indian army says not ‘correct’ to revoke IHK law


A top Indian army official says harsh emergency laws in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) should not be revoked until Pakistan ends its “interference” in the revolt-hit region. The draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was introduced in 1990 to give the army and paramilitary forces sweeping powers to detain people, use deadly force and destroy property.
IHK Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said last month that the law would be withdrawn in certain areas, but later appeared to row back on that under pressure from groups including the army. The act enables “the army to carry out counter-terrorist and counter- infiltration operations,” General KT Parnaik told reporters late on Thursday near the de facto border that splits Kashmir between India and Pakistan. “Unless we’re able to neutralise the (militant) infrastructure and unless we’re able to remove interference from Pakistan, it may not be correct for us to revoke it (the legislation), even partially,” he said. Parnaik is India’s army chief for northern areas, including Kashmir. Abdullah’s pledge was hailed as a significant step in normalising life in the Indian part of Kashmir, where the legislation is detested by locals. But after facing stiff opposition from the army and pro-India political parties, Abdullah said this week he had only announced an “intention” to revoke the laws and “didn’t announce a decision”. Abdullah said he will consult the army and top ministers before deciding on whether to partially withdraw the tough law.