CCS meet to discuss Kashmir crisis postponed



CCS meet  to discuss Kashmir crisis postponed New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will meet on Monday to consider options to restore peace in Kashmir, including state government's demand for partial withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The CCS meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is being convened on Monday, PMO sources said. The meeting comes amid indications that the government could announce some initiatives to end the three-month-long unrest in the Valley.

The top Congress leadership, including party chief Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister, met here yesterday to deliberate on the volatile situation in the state where the party is sharing power with National Conference.

The Congress Core Group had discussed the demand for withdrawal of AFSPA from some areas in Jammu and Kashmir but was divided on the issue.

At the meeting also attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Congress President's political secretary Ahmed Patel, Defence Minister AK Antony and Home Minister P Chidambaram aired divergent views on the demands on AFSPA withdrawal.

Prithviraj Chavan, AICC in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, and senior party leaders from the state Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz also attended the meeting.

Reflecting the security establishment's apprehensions, Antony opposed any decision to even partially withdraw AFSPA while Chidambaram is understood to have emphasised the need for some political action to break the impasse in the Valley.

Antony is believed to have cautioned that the Army should not be projected as a "demon".

There was a view that the four districts of the state from where AFSPA's withdrawal is being demanded by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has no Army presence.

It was also pointed out that there is no guarantee that stone pelting, which has been going on for three months, would stop even if the AFSPA is withdrawn from these districts.

PTI