Omar meets Central leaders, talks on AFSPA, `Ekta Yatra`

J&K CM Omar Abdullah asked BJP not to "precipitate" the situation in the Valley by its `Ekta Yatra`.

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asked BJP not to "precipitate" the
situation in the Valley by going ahead with its `Ekta Yatra`
to hoist tri-colour at Srinagar`s Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

Omar, who met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Home
Minister P Chidambaram to apprise them of the situation in the
state, said he would be in close touch with the Home Ministry
on how to deal with any situation arising out of the BJP
Disregarding Omar`s appeal, the BJP has vowed to go ahead
with its Ekta Yatra from Kolkata that will culminate in
Srinagar on January 26 with hoisting of the tricolour in Lal

"I am not going into get into any specific as to what we
are going to do. As I said time and again, we are hoping that
nothing will be done to precipitate the situation in Jammu and
Kashmir. As we come close to January 26, we will decide what
we will do," he told reporters after a 40-minute meeting with

Asked about his Government`s stand on the controversial
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Omar said "it is not
a mere political cry for my government. It is a reflection of
the sentiments of people who want to get rid of the laws that
were imposed two decades back when the situation was

Favouring amendments AFSPA or its removal from some
areas of the state, Omar said "as the semblance of normalcy
was visible on the ground.

"We have already starting reducing the number of boots
on the ground. Dismantling of some bunkers from city and
adjoining areas was the first step in the process and we hope
to continue until we reach a level where the visible presence
is greatly reduced at least.
"No right thinking person can turn around and tell you
that the AFSPA should be revoked in one shot. It is in those
areas that we are contemplating withdrawing the disturbed
areas act which will then automatically mean that the AFSPA
does not apply there," he said.

Omar said he had set up a small committee -- one from
Jammu and one for Srinagar -- with Police Chief, state Home
Secretary and two security advisers -- the Corps Commander in
Srinagar for the Kashmir committee and the Corps Commander in
Nagrota for the Jammu committee.

Now that the new security advisors have settled down, he
said, he would ask the state Home Secretary to convene a
meeting immediately.

He later met the Congress President and apprised her
about the political situation in the state and matters related
to coalition.
Congress is the second largest party with 17 MLAs after
National Conference which has 28 MLAs in the 87-member

During the meeting, Omar also discussed a possible
reshuffle in his two-year-old Government, official sources

The Chief Minister during his meeting with the Home
Minister also discussed recommendations made by interlocutors
and the present militancy situation in the state.

On the possibility of reopening of the Pathribal
incident, which took place in 2000 and where three persons
were killed by Army personnel who claimed that they were
militants, the Chief Minister said there was no such demand
and action would be taken against the guilty on the basis of
the CBI investigation.

"The investigation was concluded. The CBI findings
are there. Action has to be taken on the basis of those
findings. I don`t think there is any demand to reopen the
case," he said.

Omar said he had been assured by both Army chief
General V K Singh and the new Northern army commander Lt.
General K T Patnaik that the issue would be dealt with in a
transparent manner and anybody found guilty would be
Asked about the initiatives taken to bring back the
Kashmiri Pandits, who had fled the Valley in the wake of
militancy two decades back, Omar said his government was
making constant endeavour in this direction as without them,
Kashmir is incomplete.

"It is our constant endeavour to bring back Kashmiri
Pandits, who had left the Valley due to loss of sense of
security. We want them to come back to a good atmosphere
where they can feel secure. Without their return, Kashmir is
incomplete," he said.

"It was a very sad day. Whatever we say it would be not
enough. Many attempts are being made so that they can
gradually come back to the Valley," he said.

The Chief Minister said his government was implementing a
programme for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits by
offering them employment avenues, transit and accommodation

"But this is a very small step. Until and unless the
sense of security that was snatched away from Kashmiri Pandits
is given back, probably they won`t come back home. We have to
give them that sense of security," he said.