`No difference of opinion on Kashmir in Cabinet`

Last Updated: Sunday, September 12, 2010 - 17:38

Thiruvananthapuram: Defence Minister AK Antony Sunday denied reports of differences of opinion in the Union Cabinet on tackling the violence in Kashmir, a day ahead of a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting to discuss a peace package for the troubled state.

"Tomorrow (Monday) the cabinet sub committee on security is meeting in Delhi. In the cabinet once a decision is arrived at, then there would be no difference of opinion. I am not interested in starting a debate on this," Antony told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

"The frequent clashes in Kashmir are a cause of concern to all," he added.

The CCS meeting, which was to be held Saturday, was postponed to Monday. Several media reports said the government was taking time to "arrive at a consensus on the package", and that the Congress core committee meeting had not reached a consensus on the package.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday and requested for the lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), at least from a few districts of the state, as part of the package.

The act gives legal immunity to security forces against damage, including loss of life, caused during operations in the state.

At least 69 civilians, mostly teenagers and young men, have been killed in firing by security forces on stone-pelting street protesters since June 11 in Kashmir. The cycle of violence has led to frequent shutdowns and curfew in the valley for the past three months.


First Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010 - 17:38

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