J-K Police Bill no better than AFSPA: PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti

Kashmir police

Cutting across the political divide, clamour is growing in the Valley over the Police Bill, drafted by the J-K government that gives powers to the police similar to that of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Saying the Bill will convert J-K into a "lawless state", J-K's main opposition party has said it will oppose it in the present form.

"J-K has the dubious distinction of having been reduced to a police state outside the democratic system of the country but the proposed Bill would actually convert it to a lawless state," Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti said. "It is an attempt to institutionalize the dreaded Ikhwan culture in the state. The police in the state definitely is in need of drastic reforms but many provisions in this bill are undemocratic and anti people". Mufti said that her party will oppose the passage of this Bill in "its present form".

Equating the draft Bill with the AFSPA, Mufti said on one hand the government is making noises on scrapping the AFSPA and on the other it is proposing to provide similar immunity and unbridled powers to its own police and taking them out of all civilian control and guidance. "This draft legislation has all the criteria of a systematic undermining of democracy: namely, the abdication of authority to security forces by an elected government, military-style 'civilizing' of civilian society by insultingly presuming to teach them how to stand in line, urinate and defecate," Mufti said. "It also has ring of an effort to appease the muscular nationalists in Delhi with an argument against AFSPA by morphing it into a 'non-military' AFSPA that is supposedly willed by 'the people' of our state".

Mufti termed the Bill an attempt of social policing. "If this Bill passed then a person can be jailed for wrong parking, cleaning furniture in a public place, urinating on the road side, not caring for pets, overtaking and breaking a queue for essential supplies" she said. "For a state which doesn't have a single public urinal anywhere and very few parking places, these provisions only point to government's insulting and feudal attitude towards its people".

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