Decision Next Month: Omar29 October 2011
Srinagar: After having missed the first deadline of lifting Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state before Durbar move, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday said the issue would be now discussed next month. Rejecting reports by some TV channels that the revocation of AFSPA had been deferred, Chief Minister tweeted on micro-blogging site Twitter; “It never came as a proposal (in the cabinet meeting yesterday). So how can it be deferred? It was always slated to be discussed formally in Jammu once offices open.” The offices are slated to open in the winter capital Jammu on November 10. The issue has triggered a big debate in the political circles here, especially after the chief minister’s statement last Friday (October 21) at a police function in Zewan that AFSPA would “be removed within days”. On October 25, Omar told a Delhi-based news channel that a decision on AFSPA revocation would be taken before the civil secretariat and other move offices shift to Jammu. NC’s alliance partner Congress has expressed resentment at not being consulted on the issue. State Congress chief Prof Saifuddin Soz articulated the anger of his party, saying the Congress has not been consulted on the issue. “The chief minister did not even inform us before making the statement,” Soz told mediapersons on Thursday. Congress sources said Soz is leaving for New Delhi Sunday to brief the high command on the issue. ISSUE DISCUSSED WITH SECURITY AGENCIES: RATHER Altaf Baba adds from Rafiabad: Meanwhile, senior NC leader and finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather on Saturday said the decision on partial revocation of AFSPA was taken after consultation with different central security agencies operating in the state. “State government has been discussing the issue of partial revocation of AFSPA with different security agencies operating in the state,” Rather said on the sidelines of a public gathering at Rohama. He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir will receive ‘good news’ soon over the issue. “Definitely there will be good news for the people of J&K. The issue of partial revocation of AFSPA will be placed in the cabinet soon for discussion and thereafter a decision will be taken,” Rather said. COALITION PLAYING POLITICS ON AFSPA: TARIGAMI Khalid Gul adds from Islamabad (Anantnag): Stating that the state cabinet only has the powers to recommend revocation of AFSPA, CPI (M) State Secretary MY Tarigami cautioned the coalition partners against playing politics over the issue. “Clause-3 of the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) clearly states that the Governor is competent enough to revoke the law after being recommended by the state cabinet,” Tarigami told mediapersons on the sidelines of a State Kissan Conference here. He said that the temporary laws like AFSPA which were invoked in the state during the eruption of armed insurgency have become redundant and need to be revisited. “Instead of playing politics over the issue, the coalition partners should rise above party politics and no longer delay the decision on AFSPA revocation,” said Tarigami. He said that the central and state government should also hold deliberations on this issue. Tarigami said that he had brought a resolution in the Assembly on the revocation of Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) but that could not be discussed due to ruckus. Asserting on reducing the footprints of Army from the state, Tarigami said; “If the security agencies themselves claim that infiltration has come down and the graph of militancy is on decline, then why there is a need for heavy presence of the Army”. GOI, JK GOVT ENACTING DRAMA: RASHID Meanwhile, MLA Langate Engineer Rashid said the drama on AFSPA revocation was on the expected lines. Both the Government of India and Government of J&K worked on a well orchestrated plan to give a sense of feeling as if Kashmir problem hinges only on the removal of AFSPA and taking other so-called CBMs was of less significance. “Both the Government’s took this absurd step so that they can first raise the expectations of the people and make them curious to show as it was a very significant step that would give Kashmiris a sign of relief,” Rashid said in a statement. He said the so-called controversy between Omar Abdullah, Army, Ministry of Home Affairs and Congress is only a gimmick and is being played deliberately to draw attention towards the issue of proposed revocation of AFSPA and leave out the other core issues. “Saifuddin Soz and Omar Abdullah are mere actors in this well-staged drama in which people like Mustafa Kamaal are playing the role of a clown,” he said. LJP SUPPORTS REVOCATION PTI adds from New Delhi: Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Saturday backed Omar’s move for withdrawing AFSPA from certain areas of the state, saying it will help restore normalcy. “The LJP strongly endorses the proposal to withdraw AFSPA from a few districts in Kashmir, especially in the context of the recent report that militancy-related and violent death fatalities are considerably fewer in the Valley than in many other states in the country,” LJP secretary general Abdul Khaliq said here. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan was a member of the all-party delegation which had visited Jammu and Kashmir few months back as part of the Centre’s initiative to reach out to the people. He has also been visiting the state separately on many occasions since then and held deliberations with Kashmiri leader including Hurriyat (G) chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani there. Khaliq said the Government should waste no further time in withdrawing the Act. He claimed that “since the imposition of AFSPA in Kashmir in 1990, there has, been a manifold increase of violence in the State when compared with the earlier decades.” When no area in the country is totally immune from deadly terrorist embrace, the argument that AFSPA is vital to tackle militancy in Kashmir is far from convincing, he said urging the government to take necessary steps for phased withdrawal of AFSPA and thereby restore normalcy in Kashmir.