Forces against dilution of AFSPA

Despite a peaceful summer in Kashmir, the security forces have strongly opposed withdrawal or even dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the Valley.
The issue was discussed at length at security review meetings chaired by Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde during his visit to Kashmir earlier in October.
In their assessment report given to the home minister, security agencies have categorically stated, “Pakistan at present is lying low on the issue of terrorism because of its own internal and external problems. However, there is still no let up or dilution in Pakistan’s intentions to push terrorists and sponsor terrorism in India. So at all times we need to remain vigilant.”
Significantly, while vehemently opposing any changes in AFSPA’s present status in the state, the security forces have further argued that even now 45-odd training camps were still active in Pakistan. Similarly, the report goes on to add that between 2,000 to 3,000 Kashmiri youth were still unaccounted for in the Valley and it is largely suspected that they were in militant training camps in Pakistan.
The security assessment report has also given recent examples of members of panchayat being intimidated by terror outfits into giving their resignations. “Further, recently large quantities of arms and ammunitions have been seized in the Valley. Some of these weapons have Chinese markings and this is a disturbing trend. It proves that ISI has access to Chinese made weapons which in turn were being given to militants,” the report states.
Highly-placed government sources said the Centre too was in no hurry to even partially lift AFSPA from some parts of the Valley. Though admitting that there was considerable improvement in the security situation in Kashmir sources said the Government was not willing to take any chances and lower its guard.
Meanwhile, Mr Shinde on Sunday reiterated that Pakistan was continuing to help terrorist to infiltrate into India. The home minister said there was specific intelligence inputs that Pakistan was helping militants sneak into the country but the government was alert.
The home minister categorically ruled out any possibility of withdrawing the security forces Kashmir till the situation was absolutely peaceful.
“When I was in Jammu and Kashmir, locals asked me to remove the Army from the Valley but I told them that we can’t do it till the situation is peaceful. We will remove the Army when the situation is peaceful,” he said.
The Home Ministry, he added, has already instructed the concerned security agencies to remain extra vigilant during the festive season.

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