High-powered committee to review Disturbed Areas Act meets

Defence Ministry has raised objection to the lifting of the controversial AFSPA.

Srinagar: A high-powered panel comprising state officials and a top Army commander met here for the first time to review withdrawal of Disturbed Areas Act from some parts of the Valley which is seen as a step towards lifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from these areas.

Sources said the meeting assumes significance as the Army has been "dilly-dallying" in participating in the meeting. They said a "high-level intervention" has prompted the Army to
attend the meeting, but did not elaborate.

The meeting was attended by Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda, Principal Secretary (Home) BR Sharma and Commander of the Army`s key 15 Corps (which guards the Line of
Control in Kashmir Valley) Lt Gen SA Hasnain, among other officials.

During the meeting, Lt Gen Hasnain pointed out that militancy was still a threat perception in the state and that there should be no dilution of the AFSPA in any of the areas
in the Kashmir Valley, sources said.

However, the state government while making it clear that militancy had come down in the state, said there were some areas from where the Disturbed Areas Act could be removed.

If the DA Act is removed, the AFSPA will automatically be withdrawn from those areas.

Defence Ministry has raised objection to the lifting of the controversial AFSPA, saying infiltration attempts were still continuing and terrorists could not be given any
"opportunity to succeed" there.

"Militancy has come down substantially but at the same time our feedback is not giving us comfort. Attempts for infiltration are still continuing....We cannot take any step that will give an opportunity for militants to succeed there," Defence Ministry A K Antony had told reporters in New Delhi.

PTI

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