Army To Oppose AFSPA Revocation22 October 2011
Srinagar: Army is all set to oppose the proposed withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers (AFSPA) from certain areas despite the announcement in this regard made by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah yesterday. The issue is likely to come up during a high level meeting to be chaired by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, who is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow with a high level team of central officers. Highly placed sources told Rising Kashmir that even as the state government was preparing a blueprint for the withdrawal of Act, Army has expressed its reservation over the issue. “Army will not allow the withdrawal at this stage and there is no consensus even during the meetings of the Committee set up by the state government for the purpose,” they said referring to the Committee headed by Home Secretary and set up in October last year. “There is no guarantee about the situation and wait and watch policy is the best option right now,” they said quoting top officials. They Army, sources said, will categorically oppose the withdrawal of AFSPA at this stage. Sources said Udhampur-based General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Northern Command Lt Gen K T Parnaik is also arriving in Srinagar tomorrow to take part the meeting with Cabinet Secretary. The meeting will be attended by Defence Secretary, Home Secretary and the top officials of central and state government. “Though AFSPA is not on the agenda but it will surely be discussed in view of the announcement made yesterday” a top official said. The state government, sources said, had taken up an exercise of identifying the areas wherefrom the Act could be withdrawn. Many rounds of meetings at the top level have taken place. It is likely that most of the Srinagar city, parts of Ganderbal district, Budgam and Islamabad towns may be free from AFSPA. However, no part of north Kashmir will be considered for the withdrawal. Meanwhile, NDTV quoting sources reported that Defence Ministry, it appears, is not in agreement with J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah regarding removal of AFSPA from some parts of the State. Omar had announced yesterday that AFSPA alongwith Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) would be lifted from some areas of the State within next few days. 'The time has come for the revocation of laws (AFSPA and DAA), which were invoked in the state after militancy, from some areas of the state within the next few days,' he said while a Police Commemoration Day function at Zewan near Srinagar. Quoting highly placed sources, they said Omar’s statement has caught defence minister off-guard. “Defence Ministry - on the advice of the Army - is opposed to revocation of AFSPA even from selected areas of J&K. It, though, is agreeable to a reduction in the visibility and presence of the Army,” they said.