Leave AFSPA issue to J&K CM, HM: Azad

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the issue of withdrawal of AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir should not be politicized.

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

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".


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