Kashmiri Pandits meet Antony, oppose AFSPA withdrawal

A group of displaced Kashmiri Pandits met Defence Minister AK Antony to highlight their concerns over the worsening situation in the state and press their demands.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2010, 22:24 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid demands for withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from their state, Kashmiri Pandits on Wednesday opposed any such move and asked the Centre to take the views of all shades of opinion of the state before deciding on any major issue related to the state.

A group of displaced Kashmiri Pandits met Defence Minister AK Antony to highlight their concerns over the worsening situation in the state and press their demands.

"We have requested the Defence Minister that AFSPA should not been withdrawn as there are special circumstances in the Jammu and Kashmir. The Act is a must for them (security forces)," said Utpal Kaul, a leader of Panun Kashmir, an organisation of the community.

The members expressed their concern over the situation in the state and asked the Minister to find a solution to end the present crises.

The delegation also impressed upon the Centre to consult all shades of opinion of the state, including people of Jammu, Ladakh, Kashmiri Pandits, Gujjars and Bakerwals before deciding on any major step like the AFSPA withdrawal.

"Interest of India is being undermined by vested interests for political reasons. The situation should be dealt with in totality," said another delegation member Ramesh Manvati.

He said Kashmiri Pandits are opposed to any kind of dilution in the powers of the armed forces who were playing a crucial role in the state for the country.

"There is a difficult situation in the state. People are on the roads. Even protestors are forcing schoolgoers to fight with security forces. We have asked Antony to intervene and find a long lasting solution to the problem," Kaul said.

PTI