AFSPA may soon be withdrawn: J&K CM

The controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act may soon be withdrawn from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Special Powers Act may soon be withdrawn from some parts of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
"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."


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