AFSPA may soon be withdrawn: J&K CM
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Last Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 23:32
New Delhi: The controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act may soon be withdrawn from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday briefed Union Home Minister P Chidambaram about the improved security situation in the state.

Emerging from an hour-long meeting with Chidambaram, Omar told reporters that he had a meeting with the Home Minister to have a "comprehensive review" of the security situation in the state.

"During the meeting, we also discussed the possibility of removal of AFSPA and Disturbed Areas Act from certain parts of the state. I will return and have a discussion with my cabinet colleagues and officers, after which we can take a decision," Omar told reporters here.

He, however, cautioned this did not mean that there "will be an overnight revocation of AFSPA or Disturbed Areas Act from the entire state.

"We have to see the areas where the footprints of Army was minimal and then go for revocation of Disturbed Areas Act and subsequently AFSPA," the Chief Minister said.

About a question on the Kashmir interlocutors submitting their final report, Omar said "it was indeed a step in the right direction and after this I hope that the Centre will soon convene an all-party meeting to discuss it."

"I look forward to the report. I hope positive things come out and are implemented," he said.

The three-member panel -- Dilip Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari -- will submit their report to the Home Minister tomorrow afternoon.

The Chief Minister said during his discussions with the Home Minister, he also apprised him about the devolution of powers to local bodies including panchayats.

"The state government is committed to transferring the power to grass-root level and we will soon give panchayats more powers to ensure participation of the local population in development," Omar said.

The state had conducted panchayat elections after three decades and Omar recently announced empowering them after consulting his cabinet ministers.

The Chief Minister drew attention towards the peaceful summer witnessed in the state this year but said "this will never mean that we will lower our guard."


First Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 23:32

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