GoI Must Fully Support Omar On AFSPA Removal: Interlocutor22 November 2011
New Delhi: Backing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, one of the interlocutor M M Ansari Tuesday said Government of India (GoI) must give 'full support' to the plan for partial revocation of AFSPA in the border state at the earliest to reduce any 'trust deficit'. “GoI needed to support Omar in his endeavour for partial lifting of the controversial AFSPA. This way we can kill two birds with one stone. The trust deficit with New Delhi will reduce drastically and the general perception about governance deficit would also be addressed simultaneously,' Ansari, a former Central Information Commissioner who was part of three-member panel of interlocutors, told PTI. The interlocutors submitted their report to GoI on October 12. Ansari said it was high time to show that democracy existed as much as in the state as in any part of the country. Omar is pressing for lifting AFSPA from parts of J and K while Army has voiced reservations on the move. Touching upon Army's role in civilian works, Ansari said, 'Operation Sadhbhavna of the Army under which they involve in educational and health spheres should be left to the State government.' He said during his meetings with the Army commanders, he had suggested that these camps should be stopped all together especially in suburban areas as this projected a negative image of the state government. 'One can understand such facilities in far-flung and border areas but not in suburban areas and the logic given by the Army is not convincing. If they have to do something for poor, let them come to slum clusters in Delhi or Mumbai, we have lot of them,' Ansari added. Brushing aside reports that peace was fragile in the state and situation would return to early 1990's in case AFSPA was revoked, he said, “It was a perception being floated by people who thrive on unrest in the State.” 'We cannot just brush aside arrival of over one million tourists in the state, besides successful holding of panchayat elections in the state after three decades. It was right time for consolidating the peaceful environment,” the interlocutor said. He said people of the state were gradually feeling the need for more political and economical merger with the rest of the country. 'It is now our duty to live upto their expectations,' Ansari said. While strongly advocating for partial revocation of AFSPA, he also sought strict monitoring of Public Safety Act used by the J-K police. However, he said the PSA had a monitoring mechanism. 'This year we have come across many cases where the courts have struck down the police plea for making arrests under PSA. However, in AFSPA, there is no check as no one has been prosecuted so far,” he added.