In Mufti-Parrikar Meet, AFSPA On Agenda

20 May 2015
Greater Kashmir
Shabir ibn Yusuf

Srinagar: In a crucial meeting between Defence Minister ManoharParrikar and JK Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, the revocation of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act is all set to dominate the agenda, Greater Kashmir learnt from top official sources on Wednesday. Sources said that the meeting, scheduled for Friday evening, has revocation of AFSPA on its agenda besides other security related issues pertaining to J&K. 'There is every possibility that Mufti would up the ante for the revocation of the Act,' a source privy to the development said. 'Besides AFSPA, rent for land under Army use and AmarnathYatra will be discussed.' Parrikar is scheduled to arrive in Kashmir on Friday on two-day visit. He will be taking stock of situation on Line of Control and will also be visiting Leh. The discussion of revocation of the Act assumes significance as in first week of April, Sayeed had discussed the issue with top military commanders, who are part of the Unified Command, and possibly attempted to win them over to partial revocation of the Act. In turn, on April 15, the Army commanders briefed their Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag in Udhampur on 'possibilities' of scrapping the Act from 'some peaceful areas'. As reported by this newspaper, the Army commanders briefed Suhag about their meeting with the Chief Minister. The Army Chief was later supposed to brief the Defence Minister on the feedback received from the commanders based in Jammu and Kashmir. Government sources said that the Chief Minister is sustaining the call on Army to facilitate revocation of the Act from Srinagar and Jammu districts in the first place. 'This was conveyed by Mufti to Army during the dinner hosted by him for Army Commanders. Even during Unified Headquarters meeting, the Chief Minister talked about revocation of the Act. He has also asked Army to minimize footprints of forces,' Government sources said. 'Now that normalcy is returning to Kashmir, huge turnout in elections and drastic decrease in militancy related incidents are making a strong case for revocation of AFSPA from peaceful areas,' PDP chief spokesperson Dr Mehboob Beg told Greater Kashmir. 'Its (AFSPA) withdrawal should begin from Srinagar and Jammu within no time.'