Thiruvanathapuram: Ahead of a meeting of
the Cabinet Committee on Security on Monday, Defence Minister AK Antony Sunday maintained that there were no differences in
the CCS on the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, but admitted "there
may be various points of view".
"There are no serious differences in the Cabinet. (It
is the) same government. When we discuss certain things there
may be various points of view. Ultimately, the government's
decision is final," Antony told reporters on the sidelines of
a function at Santhigiri Ashram near here.
He was asked to comment on reported differences
between the Home and Defence Ministries on AFSPA in Kashmir.
Antony's statement assumes significance in the wake of
reported differences in the CCS over the partial withdrawal of
the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in parts of the Kashmir
Valley as part of the Centre's package to break the current
impasse in the state.
The Congress Core Group, which met on Friday in New
Delhi, also discussed the AFSPA issue.
The Defence Minister described the reports about
differences in Cabinet as "imaginary".
"Continuing tension in Kashmir is causing concern to
all. The Cabinet Committee on Security will discuss the
situation in Kashmir seriously," he said.
The Defence Ministry is said to be opposed to the
partial withdrawal of the AFPSA in the state or any other kind
of dilution in the controversial act which gives sweeping
powers to security forces.
When pressed for his comments on reports of serious
differences, Antony said: "We don't debate in public matters
discussed in the CCS. The reports regarding differences in
media over AFSPA are imaginary."
"I am not for any public debate on this matter...
anyway the CCS is going to discuss the matter tomorrow."
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has
been pressing the Centre to withdraw the AFSPA from some areas
of the state and announce some political initiatives.
First Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010, 14:21