BJP warns against move to dilute AFSPA

BJP today warned against any move to dilute the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), saying it would "demoralise" the armed forces in the Valley.

New Delhi: With the Cabinet Committee on Security set to meet on Monday tomorrow, the BJP today warned against any move to dilute the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), saying it would "demoralise" the armed forces in the Valley.

"The BJP would like to warn that any weakening of the AFSPA is unacceptable and no attempt be made under political pressure to compromise the morale of the security forces who sacrificed their lives while fighting the terrorists and ensuring security," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He said the assessment of the security forces should be given due importance in place of "adhoc assessment based primarily on vote bank politics," he told reporters here.

The CCS meeting, to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will discuss the situation in Kashmir and consider options like partial withdrawal of AFSPA from
certain parts of the state.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been pressing the Centre to withdraw the AFSPA from some areas of the state and announce some political initiatives.

Observing that the situation in the valley has turned critical, Prasad saw a pattern behind the violence which he said was "orchestrated" by handlers from across the border
"under the patronage of ISI".

He also deplored the absence of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah from the state on Eid when the valley was again embroiled in fresh bout of violence.

"It is indeed unfortunate and regrettable that the chief minister instead of controlling the violence in Srinagar chose to spend time in Delhi," he said.

He said the country saw "the real violent faces of the separatists and the Hurriyat on Eid when there was violent arson and many government buildings were torched."

"Even Pakistan flag was openly unfurled in Lal Chowk in heart of Srinagar while the separatists even went to the extent of demanding azadi and merger of Kashmir with
Pakistan," he claimed.

Prasad said the party would like to remind the separatists that Jammu and Kashmir includes Jammu and Ladakh, the places where they have failed to garner popular support.

"BJP would like to reiterate that not only Jammu and Kashmir but also Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir is an integral part of India as affirmed by the Parliamentary resolution of 1994," he said.

PTI

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