Army enjoys AFSPA, no powers to act against them: DC Shopian Gazanffer Ali

  • Chief Minister left us at Army’ mercy: Locals
  • Army’s such acts will create more militants: MLA Wachi

After an army vehicle was targeted in IED blast in Sugan village of Shopian, the locals have complained that they are living in “fear psychosis” and alleged that “Army Raj” is prevailing in the area and harassments have become order of the day.
“No civilian government visible in the area. It is army that dictates terms. Mehbooba Mufti took votes from us, but never looked back. She handed over us in the hands of army, who are thrashing us on every side,” the residents of Sugan village told Kashmir Post.
It is “Army Raj” in the area and army doesn’t listen to anyone, they said.
On Monday morning three army men including an officer were injured in an IED blast carried by the militants in the area. Later, army men went on rampage and thrashed people, destroyed apple trees and damaged houses.
“If army is fighting militants why do they often target civilians? No top official from civilian government takes them (Army) to task,” said a woman, whose house was damaged by Army yesterday.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian Gazanffer Ali told Kashmir Post that Army comes under AFSPA.
“They have powers. They can even come into District Magistrate’s house and conduct searches. What can a district magistrate do? Otherwise I had issued orders to them not to venture out of barracks in this holy month,” he said.
Ali said he had sent a team of officials to the village today to assess the damage caused by army men.
Admitting that army has done a wrong act, the DC said the civil administration intervenes and shows its presence in the area.
“We show our presence but Army goes in the night, face attacks by militants and then they retaliate like anything. We don’t come to know about that at the very instance. Then we go next day to start inquiry,” Ali said.
He said FIR is registered by police.
“The district administration has no powers against Army. We can restrict them but we can’t go with them in the night. We will not allow them to do such acts. But when they do it, we are not witness to that. They do it. This is wrong. I am telling you it is totally wrong,” he said.
Ali said Army is a disciplined force and shouldn’t go to private houses. “This won’t be tolerated at all”.
According to DC, he had already in writing informed all the forces in the district to try to remain in barracks.
“I have banned Army from holding Iftaar parties or related activities in the district. I am the only DC who has done this,” he said.
The ruling PDP MLA from Wachi, Aijaz Ahmad Mir said Army should respect the ceasefire and such actions are not tolerated.
“Army shouldn’t act in its own way. They should respect the civil administration. I believe, this is how forces work in democracy,” Mir said.
Maintaining that the way army deals in his constituency would only create more militants, he said, “Army should do fire fighting instead of provoking people and damaging property. What kind of message Army is trying to convey in this holy month of Ramadan”.
The Sugan village where the IED blast took place is surrounded by villages of Heff, Shirmal, Chitragam, Moolu, Achan, Panjran, Aglar, Turkawangam, Dragad etc. are said to be militancy hotbed. Most of the militants active in the area belong to these villages.