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Partial lifting of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir: Omar

Friday October 21, 2011 03:38:40 PM, IANS

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to lift the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act [AFSPA] from some parts of the state, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said here Friday.

"Within some days, AFSPA will be removed from some areas. I am, however, not in a position to disclose the names of those areas right now," Abdullah said at the police commemoration parade in this summer capital.

Abdullah had said on microblogging site Twitter Friday morning: "For some it will be too much, for others not enough, but the way I see it, it will be a significant beginning however small."

The decision was taken after the chief minister met union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, sources said.

There has been a widespread demand from various rights groups and social activists for the removal of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, which gives sweeping powers to security forces dealing with insurgency.

Social activist Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey started an anti-AFSPA journey from Srinagar to Imphal Sunday. In Imphal, activist Irom Sharmila has been fasting for the last 11 years for the repeal of AFSPA from Manipur.

Security forces and intelligence agencies have favoured a cautious approach.

"Its removal will have to be cautiously calibrated with the security situation in a particular area. An overview will also have to be taken to ensure that areas from where the act is removed do not become safe havens for insurgents as powers of the security forces to operate in those areas would be limited after AFSPA is repealed there," said an intelligence official.

The chief minister has been committed to the reduction of security forces from areas where normalcy has returned and militancy-related incidents have come down significantly.

"The legal way out has finally to be agreed upon between the state and centre. The revocation of the disturbed areas act by the state government would result in automatic repeal of AFSPA.

"Once AFSPA is removed from parts of the state, the exercise would be gradually extended to other parts depending upon the security scenario," an official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.







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