Mufti Seeks AFSPA Revocation

30 August 2009
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party Sunday adopted a resolution demanding revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, withdrawal of troops from civilian areas in the state and release of political prisoners. The resolution was adopted at a day-long convention of party workers chaired by PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed here. Addressing the convention, Sayeed said revocation of the draconian AFSPA and withdrawal of troops from civilian areas was essential as the state can never reconcile to strong arm methods or subversion of democratic norms. Calling for the immediate release of political prisoners, the PDP patron said jails cannot be the ground for fighting ideological battles in a democratic system. “How long and how many the government will arrest for their political beliefs,” he asked. Asking party workers to take the message of self-rule to the grassroots, he said it is the only vision which can provide a workable framework for a composite approach needed to solve the complex problems plaguing the state. Questioning the ruling National Conference’s resolve to fight for restoration of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, he accused the NC of stalling the PDP’s proposals in the state assembly for renegotiating terms with the NHPC on Jammu and Kashmir’s water resources for the fear of annoying the Centre. “How a party that is not able to demand a fair deal on our waters will be able to fight for autonomy,” he asked. Pointing out that raising the genuine demand of a better deal on power projects to NHPC would not have endangered NC’s political power, the PDP leader alleged that the party is now so scared of the Centre that it muzzled the voice of even its own members who had expressed solidarity with the PDP’s in-House resolutions on the state’s water resources. Accusing the NC of selling out the autonomy resolution passed by the state legislature for power from day one, Sayeed said the party has even stopped making the ritual lip service to it. He claimed that from human dignity to their sense of siege, political disempowerment and economic deprivation the PDP roadmap (self-rule) could address all aspects of the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.