The Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) has conveyed to defence minister AK Antony that partial lifting of the (Afspa) at Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam, Jammu and Kathua was not feasible as it would give terrorists an opportunity to target its communications and logistics line to Leh sector and the forward areas on the Line of Contol (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
During a meeting between the three armed forces chiefs, Antony and national security advisor SS Menon at South Block in April-end, the armed forces said lifting of Afspa would release the pressure on around 300-350 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. They said the move would be counter-productive in the present scenario, with 42 terrorists camp still active in PoK, and around 2,000-2,500 terrorists awaiting their chance to enter the country and build up strength across the LoC.
After hearing the chiefs out, Antony made it known that no decision on lifting Afspa would be made without taking the forces on board. However, home minister P Chidambaram and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah are in favour of lifting Afspa from the five districts in the state, and have already executed a plan to remove 54 paramilitary bunkers from Srinagar as part of confidence-building measures.
The army has made it known that partial lifting of Afspa from Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam and Jammu would expose its Leh and LoC-bound convoys to terrorist attacks. Moreover, any counter-action taken would invite lawsuits in the absence of Afspa.
Further, the armed forces have told Antony that partial lifting would lead to public agitations in the state as people from other districts, including terrorist-infested Baramulla, Kupwara and Anantnag, would start protesting. To drive home their point, the armed forces cited the example of Imphal – where the law-and-order situation worsened after Afspa was lifted in August 2004.