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Kashmir Govt says ready for repeal of Draconian Laws

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, Feb 27, IRNA - Following sudden spurt in killings and subsequent street demonstrations across Kashmir, Omar Abdullah has said that the coalition Government would work towards withdrawal of laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and DAA in Jammu and Kashmir.

‘Those responsible for killing of innocent people will be handed down exemplary punishment”, Chief Minister said, while replying to a discussion on adjournment motion moved both ruling and opposition members in the state assembly on the incidents of February 21 this month.

Two young pilgrims at a Muslim Sufi shrine were shot dead by Indian army personnel in northern Sopore town on Feb 21 sparking widespread anti-India demonstrations.

The Chief Minister said that his government will not tolerate at any cost killing of innocent persons whoever the killers might be.

He said that the National Conference Government in 1990 preferred to shun power rather than enforce Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) in the State which it was asked to do.

The Chief Minister said he believed in doing his job silently and as soon as he heard about the Sopore incident, he ordered a time-bound enquiry.

He said that it is for the first time that a time-bound enquiry has been ordered in such kind of incident to fix responsibility in last 20 years, adding that many enquiries ordered in the past are either lingering or gathering dust.

“I don’t require any such enquiries which take years to submit report by which time people forget the incident”, he added.

The Chief Minister said that the facts of the report about Sopore incident would be made public as soon as the Inquiry Officer submits report.

He said that stern action would be taken against those found guilty so that it is known to all that the Government does not tolerate such incidents.

Chief Minister said that it was unfortunate that the Standing Operating Procedure where under local Police has to accompany the Indian security forces following the receipt of actionable information has not been followed in Sopore incident

Referring to opposition protests, he said when such incidents took place in the last six years, those sitting on the Opposition benches now were in power, but raised these issues neither in the House nor in the Unified Command, nor talked about the issue of demilitarization.

"They were keeping mum and enjoying power”, he said, adding that he wanted to know from PDP that how many orchards had been vacated by the security forces during their rule in the State when they were trumpeting relocation of troops.

Giving details of the rights violations that took place during the PDP rule, the Chief Minister said that between 2003 and 2005, as many as 240 civilians were killed in cross firing incidents while as 24 people were killed in custody, but those who are now pointing fingers towards one-month-old Government, did not even make a passing reference about these unfortunate incidents in the Assembly or outside.

Asking PDP to see its past record before making hue and cry, Abdullah said that his Government was committed to strengthening the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) which was made powerless by the then PDP Government.

He made reference to the killing of a mosque Imam and his son while going to prayers and killing of five schoolchildren while playing cricket during their rule, adding nothing has been done to fix responsibility in these and many other such cases.

Abdullah quoted the cause given by the then Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, Justice Ali Mir, for his resignation, during PDP’s rule, wherein he stated, “Right from the Day 1, I assumed the office, I have been observing that the Government is not serious about the Commission. I all along made strenuous efforts for drawing the attention of the Government to the difficulties of the institution. The position has worsened from day to day. During my tenure, not a single recommendation made by the Commission was implemented.

SHRC has not been able to accomplish the object for which it was established. I waited for long in the hope that my efforts might yield some results but in vain”.

He said that SHRC had received 1,863 complaints on which no action was taken by the then Government.

The Chief Minister said that people voted in large numbers to get rid of the gun culture and live in a peaceful atmosphere.

“We have to work jointly for it and come up to the expectations of the people”, he said.

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