Unified Command to decide on AFSPA: Antony

Defence Minister AK Antony has said that he is against a public debate on the issue of withdrawing AFSPA from parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2011, 11:46 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony said on Friday that he is against a public debate on the issue of withdrawing AFSPA from parts of Jammu and Kashmir and stressed that it is upto the Unified Command of the armed forces in the state to take a decision on the matter.

“I am against public debate (on AFSPA), it is sensitive issue,” he said.

Antony also revealed that the defence ministry has conveyed its views on the issue to the government while also pointing out that it is for the Unified Command in Jammu and Kashmir to take a call on the matter.

Antony’s views are important as it comes in the backdrop of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s assertion that his government has the authority to revoke the controversial law.

Omar had yesterday also sought a `workable` solution from the Army.

"I have the authority. The elected state government of any state has the authority. In this case (revocation of AFSPA), the authority rests with the governor who would act on the basis of the state government`s recommendations," Omar said, renewing his bid for lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Insisting that `no` is not an option for him, the Chief Minister said that he had sought a "feasible and workable" solution from the Army at yesterday`s Unified Command Headquarters (UHQ) meeting in Jammu.

Omar`s move is facing stiff resistance from the Army. Voicing its apprehensions, the Army is understood to have cautioned that even a partial withdrawal will be detrimental to the security apparatus.