We’ve to consider security aspects, says Minister

The government on Wednesday said there was no time frame for amending the controversial the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, and a decision would be taken after considering the ground reality

“The matter is under the government’s consideration… On such security-related issues, all factors including the ground reality are taken into consideration before taking a decision and hence no time limit can be specified,” Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran said in the Rajya Sabha.

Pointing out that the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee and the Administrative Reforms Commission had also made certain suggestions on the subject, the Minister said: “Now the Group of Ministers has to take a final decision on the ARC recommendation. On the direction of the GoM, comments of the State governments concerned have been called for on the ARC recommendation.”

Several human rights groups and political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east have been demanding removal of the AFSPA, which has been in force in some of the “disturbed regions.” Even the Justice Verma Committee has recommended that “sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel be brought within the purview of the ordinary criminal law” to ensure speedy justice to victims.

Significantly, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram recently highlighted the need for making the AFSPA more “humanitarian,” and regretted that the Centre failed to move forward on the issue due to a lack of consensus between the government and the Army.