Cab Sec To Visit J&K Today To Review Security Situation22 October 2011
Times of India
New Delhi: A team of secretaries, led by cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday to review the security situation amid ongoing preparation to withdraw the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain districts. It will also take stock of various development projects, undertaken in the state in the past couple of years. The team, comprising home secretary R K Singh and defence secretary S K Sharma, will also review the progress of the Rs 2,000-crore job creation plan that was rolled out by the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, headed by C Rangarajan, in March. The team was supposed to visit the state early this month, but it was cancelled due to the 'political situation'. Sources said that the government-opposition stand-off in the state over the custodial death of a National Conference worker, Syed Mohammed Yusuf, had forced the cabinet secretariat to cancel the visit as officials believed that the situation was not conducive for review meetings then. Sources said that discussion over CM Omar Abdullah's decision to withdraw the AFSPA would be an important component of the security review meeting. Officials from paramilitary forces and the Army will also participate in the deliberation, they added. Though the home ministry has been in favour of removing the AFSPA from certain districts which had not reported violence in the past one year, the defence ministry has been opposed to it. The Army, too, strongly believes that the Act is essential to fight terrorism in the state. The Act gives powers of search, seizure and detention to security personnel, who are fighting terrorism in the state, without any warrant. Omar on Friday had said the AFSPA and the Disturbed Areas Act would be revoked from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir within the next few days. He said: 'Time has come for revocation of laws (AFSPA and DAA), which were invoked in the state after militancy, from some areas within the next few days'. Though he did not name the areas-districts from where these laws would be revoked, sources here hinted that the DAA would be de-notified in certain relatively peaceful districts like Srinagar (excluding cantonment area), municipal areas of Budgam, Ganderbal, Jammu and Kathua so that the AFSPA would be automatically be withdrawn from there.