Ehsan Fazili, Tribune News Service
Srinagar, May 7. Six months after he threw open a debate on revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said he was hopeful of a significant development in the matter in the months ahead.
Omar said though the “final mile” had not been crossed, his government was on the “correct path”. “Unfortunately, so far we have not been able to cross the final mile towards the selective revocation of AFSPA, but we are on the correct path… In the months ahead, there has to be some development on the revocation of AFSPA from some areas of the state,” Omar said.
Addressing mediapersons after reopening of the Civil Secretariat in the state’s summer capital as part of the darbar move, the Chief Minister said he had taken up the matter with the Central Government.
On the occasion of Police Commemoration Day on October 21 last year, the Chief Minister had announced that AFSPA would be revoked from “some areas (of the State) very soon”.
The “silent option” trend adopted by my government on the issue did not yield results, Omar said, but added that it was necessary to have a public debate to get the desired results.
The Chief Minister said “significant progress” had already been made on revocation of the Act from some areas of the state where militancy had either gone down or come to an end. These areas included four districts, Srinagar-Budgam and Jammu-Samba in Kashmir and Jammu Divisions, respectively.
The Army has contended that it was fighting a proxy war in Kashmir and the issue continued to be on the agenda of Pakistan, its Army, and the ISI. With the militant leadership still based in Pakistan and at least 42 training camps training youth to create trouble this side of the LoC, the Army has been strongly opposed to selective revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
“We cannot take any chance or risk on security,” said a senior officer, adding that the Act’s revocation was an easy step to be taken, but its re-imposition would be difficult in any eventuality.