Defiant Omar Says His Govt Has Authority To Revoke AFSPA

Defiant Omar Says His Govt Has Authority To Revoke AFSPA

10 November 2011
Rising Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Thursday maintained a defiant posture on the phased withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from parts of Jammu and Kashmir asserting that his government has the authority to revoke the controversial law. Insisting that ‘no’ is not an option for him, the chief minister said there would be no discussion with army over the issue till the two committees, headed separately by GOC of Srinagar based 15 Corps and GOC of Nagrota based 16 Corps, submit their recommendations. He was talking to media persons on the sidelines of a function at Delhi Public School here. About the apprehensions raised by certain quarters over his government’s authority to scrap AFSPA, the chief minister said, “I do have the authority. Every elected state government has the authority. In this state, the authority lies with the governor who takes decision on the State’s recommendations.” Maintaining that 'no' is not an option for him as far as AFSPA revocation is concerned, Omar told reporters he had sought a ‘feasible and workable’ solution from the Army at Wednesday's Unified Command Headquarters(UHQ) meeting in Jammu “I did say no is not the option in the meeting. Yes or No is not good enough. We have to find other options,” he said. He said a detailed discussion on AFSPA took place in the UHQ meeting. “Army shared their point of view. They wanted to have further discussions with me on this issue. I have instructed that two committees already set up to finalise the recommendations to submit their report.” “I don’t want to go into what presentation army made in the meeting,” he said, adding that he would have liked to keep the proceedings of the meeting secret. Omar said he would rather wait for the recommendations of the two committees before entering into any more discussion with the army. “I have to wait for the early submission of these recommendations. In the meantime, we will continue to discuss the possibility of phased withdrawal of AFSPA from various areas keeping in view the concerns expressed by various quarters.” In the committees, there are two representatives of the government, DGP Kuldip Khoda and Home Secretary, B R Sharma. To a query as to why have not the two committees submitted their report on AFSPA removal, Omar said he has already expressed his displeasure in this regard. The chief minister said he would like to see revocation of AFSPA in the winter months. Asked whether there was any timeline for AFSPA revocation, Omar said, “The sooner the better. Winter is normally a phase when militancy is at its low. This gives us a window to consolidate and to re-orient our deployment to see how phased withdrawal was working.” Omar reiterated that his case for partial revocation of AFSPA has been backed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. “The announcements made in the Cabinet Committee on Security and Union Home Minister has further cemented our claim.”


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