Omar Meets Antony Ahead Of Cabinet Meet13 November 2011
New Delhi: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Sunday met Defence Minister A K Antony in New Delhi to discuss his government's demand for withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state. The meeting between Omar and Antony comes four days ahead of a meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet on November 17 to discuss the repeal of AFSPA from some part of the states. “The two leaders were closeted for almost an hour at Antony's official Krishna Menon Marg residence in the capital, but details of their discussion were not available immediately,” sources said. 'Yes I have just finished meeting the Defence Minister and no, I don't intend to speak to the media for the time being,' Omar said on Twitter. The meeting comes close on the heels of Antony saying the state's Unified Command core committee headed by Omar and comprising commanders of Army's 15 and 16 Corps and the state police was empowered to take a decision on the demand for withdrawal of the AFSPA. Antony had a couple of days ago noted that the defence ministry had already conveyed its opinion on the matter to the government. The defence minister's remarks came in the wake of Omar’s assertions that he had the powers, as state chief minister, to decide on the AFSPA withdrawal. Meanwhile, official sources said the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet will meet on November 17 in Jammu to discuss the revocation of AFSPA from parts of the State. “The cabinet would be briefed by Chief Minister about the deliberations that took place on revocation of AFSPA at the unified command meeting in Jammu on November 9,” sources said. Army has opposed even partial lifting of AFSPA from the state, saying it would 'hamper the army's operations against terrorists and their network in the state'. However, Omar has indicated he would go ahead with the revocation of AFSPA from at least four districts of the state - Srinagar and Budgam in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu and Samba in the Jammu region. In an interview with a news channel recently, Omar said the army has not operated in these areas for long and hence does not need the protection of the special powers. The current debate on the issue began after the chief minister Oct 21 announced in Srinagar that AFSPA will go from some areas of the state within days. AFSPA, which gives sweeping powers to the armed forces, was invoked in the valley in 1990 and the Jammu region in 2001.