Army searches in Leh completely illegal: Omar

Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah on Saturday said the Army searches of hotels in Leh district earlier this week were completely illegal.

Updated: Jun 04, 2011, 16:17 PM IST

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said the Army searches of hotels
in Leh district earlier this week were completely illegal as
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was not applicable in
the Ladakh region.

"If Army did conduct such an operation at Leh, it has
done it completely illegally. There is absolutely no legal
cover for them to carry out the sort of activity they did,"
Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

He said that Leh and Kargil were the only two
districts in the state where AFSPA was not in force.

"In any other part of the state, they would have
recourse to cover under AFSPA. That is precisely why we are
talking about the need to modify the act and bring out some
areas over the period of time out of its purview," he said.

Police earlier this week registered a rioting and
wrongful confinement case against the army for entering three
hotels in Leh during the intervening night of May 30 and 31.

The case was registered after tourists, including some
foreigners, staying in these hotels complained about
harassment by the troops.

A defence spokesman said the searches were launched
following intelligence inputs about militant plans to disrupt
the tourist season in Leh by targeting the airport and
hotels.

He also claimed that army had inputs that satellite
phones were being used in the area where searches were
conducted.

However, a police spokesman countered the army claim
by asserting that there was no presence of militants in Leh
and it had no knowlegde about the intelligence inputs about
plans of ultras to strike there.

PTI