JK, GoI In Unison Over AFSPA, DAA Review: Omar19 February 2011
Jammu: Two days after Defence Minister A K Antony ruled out withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said the State government and Government of India (GoI) were thinking on the same lines regarding review of AFSPA- Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) from certain parts of the State, where the incidents of militancy have considerably come down. “There are no differences between GoI and state government regarding roll back of laws like AFSPA and DAA. And fortunately, GoI is thinking on the same lines,” Omar said while addressing a press conference along with his father and NC president Farooq Abdullah here today. The father-son duo addressed the media after culmination of National Conference Working Committee meeting, which was held here to review security arrangements in the State to chalk-out strategy regarding Panchayat polls. Omar said the two committees of the Unified Headquarters constituted to look into review of AFSPA and DAA and identify the areas for this purpose are working in complete conformity with the recommendations made by the Union Cabinet Committee on security. “The State Government wants to move forward in this matter inconsonance with GoI,” he said. In response to a query on Defence Minister A K Antony’s recent statement in which he had ruled out withdrawal of AFPSA and other laws from the State, he said, “The cabinet committee on security, of which AK Antony is a member, has made eight recommendations to GoI including the review of DDA”. As the final decision of reviewing AFPSA lies with the State, Chief Minister said, “I want to take a decision only in consultation with GoI. I don’t need anybody’s recommendations but it is important that decision to review AFPSA should be done in consultation with GoI. The GoI and state government are reading on the same page. But the changes to the provisions of the act cannot be done without thorough examination and due preparations,” he said in response to a question. He hoped that incidents like Handwara, where a teenager was killed in army fire, are not repeated in future. “The incident has made the government to rethink on the security strategy.” Omar said attempts are being made to instigate people of Kashmir to replicate Egypt-type uprising in the State. Without naming the forces, he said, “They are the same people who have never said a word against the stone-pelting in Kashmir but tried to glorify it. Will they make people to replicate Egypt-type protests here, I don’t know,” he said, adding, “People are mature enough to decide about the change of government by making use of democratic means like participating in polls.” NC president and union minister Farooq Abdullah said there was no need of DDA and other black laws in Budgam, Ganderbal and Srinagar. “The final decision of revoking the laws lies with Unified Headquarters (UHQ), the top decision making panel on security affairs in the state headed by Chief Minister. I am sure UHQ will decide to remove the DAA as there is no need of it in many areas,” he said. Earlier, the NC President gave detailed account of the minutes of the WC’s meeting. “We discussed the Panchayat polls and how the party has to go for it and the ways to strengthen the coalition government for the betterment of people without working against each other. The issue of rotational chief minister also came but this is not going to happen as it was decided between Congress and NC High Commands at the time of government formation in the state.” He said NC welcomes the initiatives taken by the GoI by constituting interlocutors to interact with all shades of opinion in the state. “The interlocutors should meet the separatists so that their view point is also registered”, he said and expressed the hope that the recommendations of the interlocutors would be presented in the Parliament by the GoI for discussion. Farooq said NC’s Working Committee decided to support the genuine candidates in Panchayat elections and help creating an effective Panchayat Raj System in the state. National Conference Legislature party will meet on February 25th to discuss roadmap for the ensuing Assembly session.