Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the move to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from certain areas of the State was in no way an effort to undermine the role of the Army.
“The Army is essentially playing a major role in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir”, Mr. Omar said in Srinagar.
“Even the process of removal of AFSPA from certain areas of Jammu and Kashmir State is being done in close consultation with the Army and other Central paramilitary forces and their inputs and security concerns will be evaluated and considered while removing the footprint of AFSPA from certain parts of the State,” he said.
Army, govt. on same path
The Chief Minister said an attempt is being made to create an impression that the State government and the Army are working on divergent paths, which is not correct.
Mr. Omar said the State had a peaceful summer for which the credit first goes to the people of the State and then the State administration, police, Central paramilitary forces and the Army who worked jointly to ensure that all steps are taken in coordination with each other to ensure peace in the State.
Mr. Omar said it is nobody’s case to demonize the Army as the Army has proved time and again that it is a disciplined force which is governed by certain standard operating procedures and particularly in the last one year the Army has gone close to the people of the State because of the goodwill created by them among the people of the State.
The Chief Minister said a statement from his senior party colleague, which has been clarified as “mis-reported and mis-represented”, has nothing to do with the State government’s opinion as well as relationship with the Army.
After multiple attacks in Kashmir Valley, ruling National Conference (NC) leader Mustafa Kamal had on Tuesday tonight created a controversy alleging the Army may have had a hand but later sought to defuse the row saying he has not accused any security agency of involvement.
Mr. Omar expressed the hope that the people of the State will understand the security concerns of the different arms of the government and cooperate with the government to ensure that the removal of AFSPA becomes a permanent feature and not allow a situation to arise in the State where such laws have either to be retained or re-imposed.