My govt has authority to revoke AFSPA: Omar

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday appeared defiant saying his government has the authority to revoke AFSPA, the controversial law.

Srinagar: A day after holding discussions
with the army on the possibility of partial revocation of
AFSPA, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday appeared defiant
saying his government has the authority to revoke the
controversial law.

"I have the authority. The elected state government of
any state has the authority. In this case (revocation of
AFSPA), the authority rests with the governor who would act on
the basis of the state government`s recommendations," Omar
told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Insisting that `no` is not an option for him, the Chief
Minister said he had sought a "feasible and workable" solution
from the Army at the Unified Headquarters meeting.

Omar said his case for partial revocation of AFSPA has
been backed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

"(It) is further cemented by what the Cabinet Committee on
Security has said and also what the Union Home Minister has
said in recent media interviews. So I don`t think it is
anybody`s case, least of all the army`s, that the state
government does not have the authority (to revoke the AFSPA),"
the Chief Minister said.

Debate over the partial revocation of Armed Forces
Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Disturbed Areas Act, introduced
in 1990 to give the army and paramilitary forces powers to
detain suspects and use deadly force, began last month when
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced the Acts would be
revoked from parts of the state "within few days".

The Army maintains that any tampering with the law will
"handicap" their capability to conduct counter insurgency

On the Unified Command Headquarters (UHQ) meeting
held yesterday in the state`s winter capital Jammu, Omar said
he had demanded that the recommendations compiled by Army`s
two committees, headed separately by General Officer
Commanding of Srinagar based 15 Corps and General Officer
Commanding of Nagrota based 16 Corps, should be made

"I have said (in the UHQ meeting) `no` is not an option,
so other than `no` as an option you give me other options that
are feasible and workable and that is what I want those
committees to examine," Omar said.

The Chief Minister said the Army had given a detailed
presentation at the UHQ meeting yesterday and had expressed
their point of view.

"They wanted to have further discussions with me on
this issue. I have instructed that since the two committees
have already been set up to finalise the recommendations, I
would rather (want) those committees make their
recommendations known before I have any further discussions
with them on this," he said.

"I now await the early submission of those
recommendations. In the meantime, we will continue to discuss
at various levels the possibilities for the phased withdrawal
of AFSPA from various areas," Omar said.

The Chief Minister said the winter months provided a
"window" to the state government and armed forces to go ahead
with the phased revocation of AFSPA.

"Sooner the better, because winter is normally a phase
where militancy is at a low and that obviously gives us a
window to consolidate and reorient our deployments and to see
how this phased withdrawal is working," he said.


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