Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday expressed confidence that the day is not far when the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be withdrawn from the state very much during the tenure of his government.
“I can say with confidence that AFSPA withdrawal will take place during the tenure of this government and that day is also not very far,” he said in his Independence Day address at the Bakshi stadium.
Mr. Omar said discussions were still on with the Defence Ministry and Army. “I am confident that the assurance made on the floor of the state assembly that the process of revocation of AFSPA will begin during my tenure will be a reality.”
The Chief Minister said that while talks were on with various stake holders on its revocation, the point of reaching an amicable solution was yet to be arrived at.
“We wanted to reach a position where we could revoke the AFSPA from some areas of the state but, unfortunately, we have not reached that point yet and I will not like to go into details,” he said.
“Recently, Defence Minister (A K Antony) and top brass of the Army were in the state. Discussions on the issue continued,” Mr. Omar said.
The state government had constituted two committees for identifying areas from where the AFSPA could be withdrawn. The Committee comprised state’s Chief Secretary, state police chief and Corps Commanders of Srinagar and Jammu-based Army establishments.
Not many meetings have taken place due to reluctance from the Army to partially withdraw AFSPA.
Referring to his tenure so far, Mr. Omar said during the last three-and-half years, the state has seen “some good days and some bad days“.
“However, due to the total cooperation of the people we are now witnessing one of the most peaceful times that the state has witnessed during the 22 years,” he said.