New Delhi: The central government, starting 2001, received 50 cases from the Jammu and Kashmir government for sanction of prosecution of armed forces under the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the ministry of defence told the Parliament.
The central government denied sanctions for 47 of them citing lack of evidence.
Replying to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, minister of state Subhash Bhamre said that 50 cases were received starting 2001, maximum of which were received in the year 2006 (17).
The cases included death in operation, encounter, retaliatory fire, killing after abduction, beating of civilians, custodial death among other alleged offences. The government received two cases relating to rape of a woman and sanctions of persecution were denied for both.
Of the three cases that are pending, one relates to disappearance of a civilian in 2006, the second case is related to kidnapping of a civilian in 2011 and the other case relates to killing of a civilian in 2014. “The reason for denial / pendency of prosecution sanction is on account of lack of sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case,” said Bhamre.
AFSPA grants soldiers powers to search and arrest without a warrant. It also gives them power to fire if they think the situation cannot be handled any other way. The law was first imposed in Nagaland in 1958 but soon spread out to other parts of the country. Kashmir saw it in 1990 and in 2001 it was introduced in parts of Jammu. Since then, like most places of conflict, AFSPA has been blamed for and debated over for extrajudicial killings, encounters, disappearances. Last year, CM Mehbooba Mufti had suggested that AFSPA be removed on a trial basis but then added that it can be re-imposed whenever the situation demanded so.