GoI Should Take Omar’s Views: Farooq17 November 2011
New Delhi: Supporting Omar Abdullah's demand for withdrawal of controversial AFSPA from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir, ruling National Conference president and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah Thursday said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is 'the boss' in the state and Government of India (GoI) should take his views on the Act. 'I feel that time has come when the State is on the mend and from some of the areas there, the AFSPA should go because people feel that things are getting normal,' Farooq told reporters on sidelines of a book release function here. He said the security situation in the State has improved and AFSPA must go from some areas there. “As Chief Minister, I am the boss. I get the inputs from all the agencies. Today, if the Chief Minister feels that conditions are better and our relations with Pakistan are improving, then I feel we should take his view also with courage,' he said. Omar is demanding revocation of AFSPA from certain parts of the state, a move which is opposed by the Army saying it will handicap its ability to operate there. Farooq said he and his family will die but not do anything which will hurt the interest of the country. “Omar met all Central ministers in-charge of security along with Army chief and they will take a decision on the issue. The objections were also raised against removal of 40 bunkers from the Srinagar city but the situation has been ‘fantastic’ in the state, which has seen excellent tourist season this year,” he said. He said India's relations with Pakistan have also improved after the meeting between the two Prime Ministers but cautioned that before taking any step, New Delhi should be careful as Army was 'still in command' in Islamabad. 'We have to be very careful. Whatever steps have to be taken, they have to be taken with great care with all the things being understood carefully, then only one must take steps,' the former chief minister said. On Indo-Pak ties, he said, 'Our Prime Minister has high hopes on the issue but our Defence Minister is wary.' Commenting on the Unified Command Headquarters, which has been entrusted the task of taking a decision on the AFSPA issue, Farooq said he was the one, who created the command there which was opposed 'tooth and nail' by the then army chief Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury. Attacking BJP leader L K Advani's statement that army was being ‘demonised’ in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, 'Where was he when the NDA Government was releasing five top militant in special aircraft in Afghanistan'.