A day after holding discussions with the army on the possibility of partial revocation of AFSPA, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday appeared defiant saying his government has the authority to revoke the controversial law.
“I have the authority. The elected state government of any state has the authority. In this case (revocation of AFSPA), the authority rests with the Governor who would act on the basis of the state government’s recommendations,” Mr. Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Insisting that ‘no’ is not an option for him, the Chief Minister said he had sought a “feasible and workable” solution from the Army at the Unified Headquarters meeting.
Mr. Omar said his case for partial revocation of AFSPA has been backed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
“(It) is further cemented by what the Cabinet Committee on Security has said and also what the Union Home Minister has said in recent media interviews. So I don’t think it is anybody’s case, least of all the army’s, that the state government does not have the authority (to revoke the AFSPA),” the Chief Minister said.
Debate over the partial revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Disturbed Areas Act, introduced in 1990 to give the army and paramilitary forces powers to detain suspects and use deadly force, began last month when Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced the Acts would be revoked from parts of the state “within few days”.
The Army maintains that any tampering with the law will “handicap” their capability to conduct counter insurgency operations.
On the Unified Command Headquarters (UHQ) meeting held on Wednesday in the state’s winter capital Jammu, Mr. Omar said he had demanded that the recommendations compiled by Army’s two committees, headed separately by General Officer Commanding of Srinagar based 15 Corps and General Officer Commanding of Nagrota based 16 Corps, should be made available.
“I have said (in the UHQ meeting) ‘no’ is not an option, so other than ‘no’ as an option you give me other options that are feasible and workable and that is what I want those committees to examine,” Mr. Omar said.