Leave AFSPA issue to J&K CM, HM: Azad
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011, 20:41
  
Jammu: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said the issue of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Jammu and Kashmir should not be politicized and any decision on it should be left to the Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister.

"It is a very sensitive issue and I would request all political parties of Jammu and Kashmir and outside J & K that let us leave this issue to the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of India," Azad told reporters here.

He said any stand on removal of AFSPA is totally an administrative decision and it should be left to J&K CM Omar Abdullah and Union Home Minister P Chidmabaram and it is for them who to consult or who not to consult.

"I do not think there should be any controversy and this should not be politicised," Azad said.

The Union Health Minister asked the people not to politicise the issue related to removal of AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir.

"A big controversy is being made out of it. I can only say that there should not be any controversy on the issue. We should not politicise these issues and we should not try to take political advantage out of it," he said.

Asked about the difference of opinion between the Army and Omar, Azad said "it is for the Home Minister to take it up with the Defence Ministry. There should not be any public debate on the issue".

"Why should we give an impression that nothing has changed in twenty years. If nothing has changed in 20 years, then what the heck they have been doing there"? he said.

"Ultimately it is the Chief Minister and Home Minister of India who will have to take the decision and not the public. These are sensitive issues which should not be discussed in public and made a subject of public debate," the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister added. Azad said "if both of them (Chief Minister of J&K state and the Union Home Minister) are satisfied and have come to the conclusion that there is no need for AFSPA, then nobody should make it a political issue".

"I think the Chief Minister is not asking for lifting AFSPA from the entire state", he added.

"This is a problem in J&K and some people are trying to exploit it and making an issue out of everything", he said.

"I am not suggesting from which district it should be lifted and which not--I am simply saying that if the Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister are satisfied that there is no need of this AFSPA on one or two, three or four districts, why should it be there"? the Union Health Minister said.

Azad said "personally, I feel it would help the state and government of India that in 20 years we have done some good work and cleared some areas of militancy".

"A good message should be given nationally and internationally that there are some areas free of militancy in J&K now", he added.

Azad further said "let the Chief Minister consult whosoever he wants to consult--his cabinet colleagues and political parties- let him do it".

PTI


First Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011, 20:23


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