Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take a "serious look" at the issue of AFSPA as the time was "opportune" to make progress on it.
"Regardless of what happens over the next few months (due to elections), I do hope that the Modi government will take a serious look at this issue of AFSPA. And I believe, I believed even a few years ago but more so now, given the fact that there has been a steady improvement over the years, that this is an opportune time to make progress on that issue," Omar told reporters here.
For the past several years, Omar has been pitching for phased revocation of the controversial law that gives sweeping powers to the Armed forces involved in anti-militancy operations in the state.
The Chief Minister said though the situation in the state had shown a considerable improvement over the years, new "reasons were found" to not proceed on the issue of revocation of AFSPA.
"The situation showed a considerable improvement...Year on year, there has been reduction in militancy in double digits, percentage wise. If you take the base as 2008-2009, the decline in the militancy has been of the order of 60 to 70 per cent.
"But unfortunately new reasons were found to not proceed on the AFSPA issue, particularly the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan. We were being led to believe that 2014 was going to be a very violent year for Jammu and Kashmir because the withdrawal of the international forces from Afghanistan would lead to a corresponding increase in militancy in J&K. (But) that didn't happen," he said.