When permanent peace returns, AFSPA will be removed from J&K: Rajnath Singh  

Jammu, Jun 26: In a significant statement, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) could be removed from Jammu and Kashmir when “permanent peace” would be there in the Union Territory.

Addressing a National Security Conclave at the University of Jammu, Singh said the world is now listening intently when India speaks, which was not the case earlier.

“Today, AFSPA has been removed from large parts of the northeast. I am waiting for the day when permanent peace will come in Jammu and Kashmir and AFSPA will be removed from here too,” said Singh at an event in Jammu.

Jammu and Kashmir, said Singh, has suffered the brunt of terrorism for a long time and people here know how the poison of terrorism hollows out the society.

The AFSPA has been implemented in J&K since 1990. It empowers the security services to detain persons and use force, even lethal force, with immunity from prosecution. The actions taken under AFSPA, even the use of lethal force, is immune fron prosecution and prosecution can only happen after sanction from the Union government.

Noting that the entire network of terrorism was operating in J&K for decades, Singh said, “Today strict action has been taken against that network by weakening it to a great extent. We have stopped the funding of terrorism, stopped the supply of arms and drugs and along with the elimination of terrorists, the work of dismantling the network of underground workers who work here is also going on.”

Singh referred to the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and said while the common people of Jammu and Kashmir were kept away from the mainstream for a long time, they also became a “hindrance” in taking action against anti-national forces.

“Today, most of the big countries of the world are united against terrorism,” said said and added that the joint statement issued recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden during the US state visit clearly shows how today India has changed the mindset of the whole world, including that of the United States, on the issue of terrorism. Singh further said, “It has been clearly stated in this Joint Statement that there should be concerted action against the UN listed terrorist organisations, which include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen. It has also been said in this joint statement that Pakistan should put a stop to every terrorist act taking place in its territory and should not allow its land to be used for this.”

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