NEW DELHI, March 31 (Agencies): Union Home Ministry has sought amendments in the controversial Armed Forced Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the proposal is pending before the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Replying to questions after presenting his monthly report, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters that the view of Home Ministry is that “three amendments should be made to the AFSPA. That is pending with the Cabinet Committee on Security”.
Chidambaram was replying to questions about the suggestion made by the United Nation Special Rapporteur on extra judicial summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns that AFSPA should be repealed as it was “symbol of excessive state power” and “has no role to play in a democracy”.
The Home Minister said the report of the UN Rapporteur was both negative and positive.
“The Rapporteur has praised the openness and willingness of the government of India to engage, shown also by the fact that there it was willing to host a mission dealing with the right to life, an area in which issues to be tackled are often complex in various countries,” the Home Minister said.
The Home Minister said that in his understanding the UN Rapporteur had made “some positive statements”.
On his views on AFSPA, he said “Yes, we take note of the view but that`s not a novel view as there are a number of people who have expressed the same view and there are others who have a contrary view which is why the issue remains unresolved.
“The view of the MHA is after considering the Justice Jeevan Reddy report and all other reports, the view of the Ministry of Home Affairs is that three amendments should be made to the AFSPA,” he said.
While Chidambaram did not spell the amendments, sources in the Ministry said the amendments include taking arrests warrants in advance, taking away the power of the armed forces to open fire causing death and setting up of a grievance redress cell.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Christof Heyns has asked India to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, saying it had no role to play in a democracy.
“The AFSPA in effect allows the state to override rights in the disturbed areas in a much