Pushing for partial withdrawal of controversial AFSPA, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday discounted suggestions that this will benefit terrorists, saying it is time to believe in the state police and paramilitary forces.
“First and foremost I never advocated lifting it from areas close to the Line of Control or so. I have suggested that it could be lifted from areas like Srinagar and Jammu cities,” Mr. Omar said while interacting with media persons in New Delhi at a programme hosted by the Press Club of India.
He was asked about apprehensions that the areas, where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act will be withdrawn, would become a safe haven for terrorists.
“On the one hand you say that you have faith in state police and CRPF and in the same breath you say that AFSPA should remain,” he contended.
The Chief Minister said the situation in the state had improved over the last 10 years and the level of violence had come down to five per cent of what it was in 2002.
“I believe the CRPF and JK police have acquired the ability to deal with the situation in areas where we could dispense with any sort of Army involvement and these are the sort of areas from where we are asking for removal of AFSPA...
“So if you don’t need to operate, therefore, the need for AFSPA should also no longer exist as well,” he said.
On why there has been no progress on the AFSPA issue, he said, “We have not been successful but this does not mean that we should not try. We are trying and I know for sure that something positive will emerge.”
Mr. Omar said it was unfortunate that his government was closely scrutinised on AFSPA. “I am trying and doing my best.
I wonder why you people (media) don’t talk about the failures of my predecessor about self—rule, dual currency and demilitarisation or for that matter the so-called independence slogan of separatists.
“Judge me when you question everyone. At least I am not building castles in the air like others have done. I am doing something and promising something which is possible,” he said.
Asked about unmarked graves issue, Mr. Omar said that his government’s stand was absolutely clear that those talking about disappearances should come with a DNA sample to a nodal officer posted in state Human Rights Commission.
“Should a kith and kin of someone believes that one of their people is buried in those unmarked graves they should supply us with DNA sample and we would again do DNA profile of the missing people with the unmarked graves.
“We gave an open offer for this. But unfortunately no one has yet come forward to take up our claim on this,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that J&K required a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which should be allowed to probe in the state as well as in PoK.
“...because there are far too many questions which require answers and those won’t be available in the Valley only. Take for example the instance of disappearances. How could you make an example or assumptions that all those people who have been disappeared have been killed by the security forces.
“What about the people killed by the militants. What about those who went across (PoK) and dies while trying to come back or infiltrate. What about those who went to training camps,” he said.