Omar Meets PC Today With Baggage Of Issues18 January 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is meeting Union Home Minister P Chidambaram tomorrow morning in New Delhi to have a discussion on a variety of issues including his persistent demand for troops cut and partial or phased withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) before the summer as a Confidence Building Measure (CBM) to prevent any further spell of unrest. The BJP’s Ekta Yatra from Kolkata to Srinagar during which the BJYM proposed to hoist tricolor at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26 is also expected to figure prominently in more than an hour long meeting as the State Government felt that the BJP plan could vitiate atmosphere in the Kashmir valley especially in the wake of a counter ‘Lal Chowk Chalo’ call given by the JKLF leader Yasin Malik. Official sources told the Excelsior that the meeting between Omar Abdullah and P Chidambaram was scheduled at 11 am tomorrow. It will be after about two months that the two leaders will be holding a one-to-one meeting. The Chief Minister is expected to invite the Union Minister to visit J&K by the end of this month or early February. The Chief Minister is in the Union capital for last three days. He had left for New Delhi on January 16 evening after a meeting of the Unified Headquarters here. Sources said progress on a host of recommendations made by three Interlocutors during their three previous visits to the State to the Union Home Ministry and forwarded by the latter to the State Government for implementation in phases would be reviewed in the meeting. The Interlocutors were reported to have recommended release of stone pelters and other youths arrested during last summer’s unrest in the Valley and some separatists lodged in the jails, creation of more job opportunities, allowing peace protests and use of non-lethal weapons in case of emergency situation against the protesters and reducing presence of forces among others. Union Home Secretary G K Pillai had recently stated that the Centre was considering a 25 per cent cut in the troops in Jammu and Kashmir and giving multiple entry permits to the visitors of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) from both Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote routes, which will be valid for a period of six months. While the Chief Minister had welcomed the Central proposal on troop cut, he was of the view that partial withdrawal of AFSPA from some peaceful districts of the State would make the situation more congenial and help prevent protests this summer. While the Union Home Ministry was not averse to the idea, the Defence Ministry has strongly opposed even partial withdrawal of the AFSPA. Sources said the Chief Minister would take up with the Union Home Minister the BJP’s ‘Ekta Yatra’ to Lal Chowk, Srinagar on January 26 for hoisting tricolor. The issue was also discussed by the Unified Headquarters in its meeting held here on Sunday morning which was chaired by Mr Abdullah and attended by top brass of all security agencies and civil administration. The State Government has been sounded by some of the Intelligence agencies that allowing the yatra up to Lal Chowk could vitiate peaceful atmosphere in the Valley, where the situation has returned to a near normal after last year’s summer unrest for more than three months. According to sources, security scenario in the State and law and order situation would also come up for a high level review in the meeting between Mr Abdullah and Mr Chidambaram. The top Generals, security, para-military, police and Intelligence officials at the Unified Headquarters briefed the Chief Minister on the security situation in the State including the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB). On return from New Delhi, the Chief Minister was expected to meet Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar and Deputy Chairman, Legislative Council Arvinder Singh Micky to take a final decision on the commencement of budget session of the Legislature.