Centre May Lift AFSPA In Srinagar5 September 2010
Times of India
Srinagar: As a token confidence-building measure, the Centre is likely to revoke the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Srinagar and Budgam districts, hoping it will end protests that have left over 60 people dead in the valley since June 11. The protests were triggered after an alleged staged encounter of three north Kashmir youth and a 17-year-old boy's killing in police action. Sources said a proposed package could also involve troop withdrawal from the valley's heavily-populated areas and release of political prisoners. The measures are in line with the demands of both separatists and mainstream politicians to end the protests. 'The package could be extended before Eid-ul-Fitr (later this week),' said a state government source. J&K CM Omar Abdullah called for a proactive approach and said he was optimistic about a breakthrough. 'Surely the Centre would have to look into the aspirations of the people and address the crisis by giving some concessions in terms of amendments to AFSPA and relocation of security pickets from the civilian areas,' said Omar. He hinted at an early release of political prisoners, saying it was in the state government's domain. The CM is also believed to have established backdoor channels to reach out to separatists and bring them to the negotiating table. Apart from this, he has ordered creation of more jobs in the state police to induct youth from the troubled areas where unemployment is high. The Congress, meanwhile, has reiterated its support to the state government.