PDP Loses Pullout Vote5 March 2010
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has rejected two People’s Democratic Party resolutions seeking the withdrawal of measures granting the military extraordinary powers to shoot or detain and demanding that security forces be pulled out of civilian areas. Several mainstream political parties, including the ruling National Conference (NC), also want a troop pullout and the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Kashmir. But the fate of the two resolutions was expected. The Omar Abdullah government does not want to strain its relations with ally Congress, which says it is ready to discuss these issues but would wait for an appropriate time to take a decision. The NC and the Congress view the resolutions as politically motivated and cite that the PDP had never raised such demands when it was in power (in alliance with the Congress) from 2002 to 2008. The PDP’s Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was chief minister from 2003 to 2005. PDP legislators Javaid Mustafa Mir and Nizam-ud-Din Bhat had moved the two resolutions, which were rejected by a voice vote after discussions. Law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said the state must wait for an appropriate time before these initiatives became reality. Sagar said the security forces had vacated 590 private houses, 30 hotels, 8 cinemas and 311 other buildings in the state so far. “The government has already taken initiatives with regard to relocation of the forces. Security forces have already been withdrawn from the areas where normality has been restored. Efforts have also been made to bring state police to the forefront,” he said. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had earlier asked the government to start a troop withdrawal from the districts on a trial basis. “More than 60 per cent of the people cast their votes in the last election and the time has come to honour their commitment by withdrawing troops and revoking a draconian law like the AFSPA,” she had said.