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Mehbooba backs demands for repealing AFSPA

Mufti said repealing the AFSPA was a part of the agenda of the party when it formed government in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the erstwhile state.

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New Delhi: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday backed the demands for repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, and said there is a need for a new beginning by removing it from areas where militancy has reduced.

At a press conference in Delhi, Mufti said repealing the AFSPA was a part of the agenda of the party when it formed government in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the erstwhile state.

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“It was a part of our agenda with the BJP. It wasn’t a secret. We believe AFSPA should be repealed in areas where militancy is lesser, it can be a good beginning,” Mufti said.

“We are in a democracy, how long can people be kept together by pointing guns at them?” she said.

The PDP chief, however, added that she did not expect that the government would take a step in that direction.

“This government will not think of it, they extended BSF jurisdiction in Punjab and West Bengal because they could not fight politically,” she said.

Demands for repeal of the AFSPA have come from several quarters, including BJP’s allies like National People’s Party (NPP) and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).

Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio and Meghalaya CM Cornard Sangma have demanded repeal of the Act in the Northeast. On Tuesday, the demand was also raised in the Lok Sabha by NPP MP Agatha Sangma.

Fourteen civilians were killed near Oting village in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4, after security forces fired on a truck carrying coal miners, and also at local villagers who came out in protest. A soldier was also killed as villagers attacked the convoy and set some vehicles on fire.

Another civilian died in Mon city on Sunday as locals protested against the incident. Some buildings of the Assam Rifles were also set on fire.

An SIT has been formed by the state government to probe the incident.

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