Omar to Push for Phased Withdrawal of AFSPA in J&K
Pushing for partial lifting of the controversial AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today asked all stake holders concerned to shed rigidity to help take a decision based on the ground situation and for the benefit of people of the state.
"It's surprising that whenever we have talked about lifting of AFSPA, certain vested interests have been working overtime and making projections as if we want it to be removed from the entire state whereas we want it to be lifted from certain parts only," Omar, who completed four years as the head of the National Conference-Congress coalition government yesterday, told
With two years remaining for Assembly elections in the state, 42-year-old Omar said he will again approach the Centre and make a case for partial withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers
"It was never a political issue or an emotional argument from us. Our stand has always been based on sound logic and a realistic assessment of the ground situation," he said.
Questioning the claims of 'vested interests' that partial withdrawal of AFSPA will see a rise in militancy, the Chief Minister asked "whom are they trying to fool? This is an insult to the Army and other security
agencies who are manning the border. Those propagating such an idea indirectly mean that Army is doing nothing. This is an absolute misinformation campaign
launched to demoralise the Army, CRPF and state police."
"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and Jammu cities," Omar said in reply to a question about apprehensions that the areas, where the AFSPA will be withdrawn, would become a safe haven for terrorists.
Asked about the response for his attempts so far on the AFSPA issue, the Chief Ministers 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."
Asked about his successes and weakness in the last four years, Omar said, "There have been lessons learnt and the process of learning continues. I am not the one who will go to town with my achievements and it is for the people to judge me after two years."
"But that vision comes only after analysing our failures and that's where we learn. Do you think that separatists and certain political parties are lying low. They want demonstrations every now and then. They want a law and order problem every now and then and for this they don't mind speaking a canard of lies. We deal with the false propaganda more rather than militancy," he said.
The Chief Minister took on separatists leaders including the moderate Hurriyat Conference and said "one finds it amazing that they are willing to travel to Pakistan and meet the leaders there but don't want to talk to people in New Delhi. This leaves no one in doubt that they lack sincerity in their approach and probably are not keen on finding solution to the Kashmir issue.
"By just waving the flag of separatism does not give them any right to make people of the state suffer. The elections of 2009, followed by successful Panchayat elections and recently held MLC elections should be indicators for them that people no longer buy their 'boycott theory'," he said.
To a question about his Truth and Reconciliatory Commission to go into the unmarked graves issue, Omar said the purpose of such a body will be successful only after both India and Pakistan agree for it.
"...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 disappeared were killed by security forces.
"What about the people killed by the militants. What about those who went across
(PoK) and die while trying to come back or infiltrate. What about those who went to training camps," he said.
The Chief Minister said those talking about disappearances should come with a DNA sample to a nodal officer posted in the state Human Rights Commission. If the "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 and added that some of the groups only pose for pictures about disappearances but never turn up with anything concrete.
On the economic front, the Chief Minister made it clear that there was an issue of unemployment and the same could not be fulfilled by providing them with jobs in government. "The youth of Kashmir will have to look outside government jobs and some of them have actually started doing that.
"We have had many youth from the state joining the civil services during the last three years. This has opened another avenue for them and many coaching centres have come up in the state for the same. Its heartening to see this turnaround," Omar said.
The Chief Minister also thanked India Inc for coming forward to encourage the youth of the state. This has helped in boosting the moral of the youth of the state and some of them are seriously thinking of setting up their own ventures with the help of well established companies like Tata and Birla.
"This was one of the things in the manifesto of my party -- National Conference. Once the youth is empowered, many of the issues will find a solution automatically," he added.
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