Demand for debate on AFSPA understandable: PC

Home Minister found nothing wrong with Omar Abdullah`s move to remove AFSPA but felt the Cong demand for more consultations was understandable.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2011, 17:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram found
nothing wrong with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah`s move to remove Armed Forces Special Powers Act
(AFSPA) but felt the Congress demand for more consultations on
the issue was "perfectly understandable".

The Centre expected Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to come
back after state Cabinet review, he said maintaining that the
review of application of AFSPA in the state was part of an
eight-point agenda of programme decided by the Cabinet
Committee on Security (CCS) last year for restoration of
normalcy in the state.

There was "nothing unusual or new" if the Chief Minister
of the state wants to quicken the process of review of AFSPA,
Chidambaram told reporters, adding there was nothing wrong
with that.

However, he said, if Congress, an ally of the coalition
government in the state, desired "more consultations" that was
perfectly understandable. There could be more consultations in
the Cabinet too. In a democracy, we can have consultations any
number of times, he said.

The Minister said the process of review of is a CCS
decision and this is not not something unusual. "Let the Chief
Minister come back to us after conducting a review. This
is a CCS decision and I am part of the CCS," he said.

After the Chief Minister`s recent announcement on the
government`s keenness to partially withdraw AFSPA from some
areas of the state, J&K PCC Chief Saif-ud-din Soz has
complained that Omar Abdullah has not consulted his party.

However, another state Congress Minister Taj Mohiuddin
had said that he had been consulted.

PTI