After Congress leader Saifuddin Soz, another party leader has questioned Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s bid to revoke Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir saying the time is not ripe for such a move.

“The time is not yet ripe for revoking the AFSPA. May be next year...May be when we have another peaceful summer,” Congress leader and Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohiuddin told reporters Srinagar.

He said there was no guarantee that the areas, where Armed Forces Special Powers Act is revoked, will not become a safe haven for militants. “Can anyone guarantee that?”

Mr. Mohiuddin said Kashmir was not a place where politics can be played. While Congress supported revocation of the Act, all the stake-holders need to be taken on board before a decision is taken on the issue, he said.

“All the stakeholders need to be taken into confidence on the matter and it should be placed before the Cabinet before sending it to the Governor (for approval),” Mr. Mohiuddin said.

This view was shared by all the Congress ministers in the State and even the party, he stated.

Asked if Mr. Omar had jumped the gun by announcing that AFSPA will be revoked from some areas before taking the State cabinet into consideration, Mr. Mohiuddin said the Chief Minister was privy to information which he did not have and would not comment on it.

“(Moreover), the CM has said that he is holding consultations with Army and Union Home Ministry on the issue ...We are sure we will be able to reach a consensus,” he said.

Asked if the AFSPA was discussed during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Mr. Mohiuddin said he cannot divulge what transpired there.

Commenting on the statement of JKPCC president Saifuddin Soz that Mr. Omar had not consulted the Congress before making the announcement, Mr. Mohiuddin said he cannot talk for others.

The minister, however, maintained that he was consulted on the issue.


Omar, Army at loggerheads over AFSPANovember 9, 2011

Kashmir: why AFSPA must goOctober 29, 2011