Omar Favours Withdrawal Of AFSPA

19 March 2009
The Hindu

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has favoured the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state, saying that the situation was 'normalising' there. 'I believe it is realistic,' he told NDTV when asked if the operation of the act could be discontinued in the state given the situation in Pakistan and the Lok Sabha elections. Noting that the special powers were given to Army due to 'unusual situation' that arose in 1989-90, Mr. Abdullah said, '(withdrawal of AFSPA) is something we are definitely looking at.' The Chief Minister said the issue 'will certainly' be taken up for further discussions after the Lok Sabha elections. 'Neither have we set deadlines nor we can realistically believe that anything of this nature will take place immediately. But certainly after the Lok Sabha elections, it is something that we would like bring to the discussion table,' he said. 'I hope some middle ground between what the Army requires to conduct its operations and what the people require can be found so that they are not caught in the sort of crossfire,' Mr. Abdullah said.