Revocation of AFSPA from J&K may take time: Govt

The government made it clear that revocation of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from J&K could be some time away.

New Delhi: The government on Sunday made it
clear that revocation of the controversial Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir could be
some time away, saying consensus will have to be evolved among
all stakeholders on the crucial issue as positions were not
"unified" at the moment at the Centre.
"Ultimately, we need to find consensus among all the
stakeholders," a government source said.

The sources noted that the decision had to be taken
through consensus by various stakeholders like the chief
minister, the Unified Command which is headed by the chief
minister and includes top commanders of the army and
paramilitary forces along with the Centre.

"The Centre itself has to form a position but till today,
you cannot say the Centre has unified its position," the
source said about the issue of lifting AFSPA from some areas
of Jammu and Kashmir which is being pushed by Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah.

Abdullah had proposed to revoke the controversial law
from four districts -- two each in Kashmir valley and Jammu.
While the Union Home Ministry is in favour, the Defence
Ministry as well as the Army is strongly opposed to it,
arguing that the situation was not yet conducive for such a
critical decision.

The sources insisted that is the "long-term goal" of army
and the government to withdraw army "because that will mean
normalcy has returned" to the state.
"Nobody wants army to be there, doing internal security
duties. In fact that is why army was withdrawn from towns and
moved to counter-insurgency grid and LoC (Line of Control).
They are not doing policing duty. It is everybody`s goal. I
don`t think there is any contradiction here," the source

Describing AFSPA as a "means to an end", the source said,
"As long as there is a considered judgement that is a security
situation that requires AFSPA, it will be applied. If there
isn`t, it will be lifted. I am sure everybody, including the
army will be happy if the situation that led to this, goes

The sources noted that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir
today was "much better" than 10 years ago if considered in
"longer term" rather than a month or two.

"We will not lift until the situation is right.. but to
say if we lift, situation will go wrong, is to turn the
argument on its head. There is a determination, there is a
judgement to be made there," they said.


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