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Omar to raise repeal of AFSPA at CMs' meet

Saturday April 14, 2012 08:02:26 PM, IANS

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Jammu: Enthused by the drastic decline in militancy and an all- pervasive upbeat mood in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is determined to raise the issue of repeal of AFSPA from some areas in the state at the chief ministers' meet in New Delhi Monday, sources close to him said.

Omar Abdullah is set to tell the central government at the CMs' meet on internal security that, in the matter of repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of the state, the goalposts "should not be shifted all the time whenever the issue is raised", the sources said.

The AFSPA offers legal immunity to the security forces in their counter-terrorism operations.

Kashmir Valley is under AFSPA since 1990 along with a swathe of the border belt along the Line of Control, in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region, while the rest of Jammu region was brought under the Act in 2001.

"AFSPA is not for maintaining law and order, it's to fight militancy... and in those areas where militants have packed their bags and gone home, the special powers must go" -- the chief minister would argue, according to the sources.

Omar had promised in the state assembly during the budget session, which concluded on April 4, that AFSPA will go before he completes his tenure of six years and "some concrete steps would get underway this year itself".

The chief minister was expected to tell the central government that this was an idea whose time had come -- as the separatists are talking of participating in elections and the army has strengthened its counter-infiltration grid, and the man on the street wants to be left alone without the fear of the men in olive green looking over everywhere all the time, the sources added.




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