Process on to strip army of special powers: Omar

26 February 2009
The Hindustan Times
Tarun Upadhyay

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said his government had initiated the process for revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Disturbed Area Act. Replying to a debate in the assembly on the killing of civilians in Sopore allegedly by the army, he said replacing the Central Reserve Police Force in Srinagar by the state police was a step in this direction. On Wednesday, the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) had interrupted the Governor address on this issue and tried to corner the government. To take the sheen out of the PDP charges, the ruling National Conference also moved an adjournment motion. Omar said though the killings were condemnable and an inquiry had been ordered, these incidents should not be politicised. He said, While criticising the government, the opposition shouldn't give an opportunity to our enemy for disturbing peace in the state. Deliberately quoting the number of civilian killings during the PDP regime, he said, In 2003, 113 civilians were killed in cross-firing, the 2004 figure was 74 and in 2005 it was 54. But now you are in the opposition and raising questions about the government sincerity. Earlier, Mehbooba Mufti said people lives would have to be secured at every cost, especially when these people have voted in huge numbers in the elections. Development is not the only important issue in our state. Securing lives of peoples is equally important, she noted.