The battle between the Indian Army and Omar Abdullah government over the limited withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) moved to Delhi on Sunday, with Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra meeting army chief General VK Singh and the chief minister meeting defence minister AK Antony to find a way out of the present impasse.Top government sources said while Antony heard Abdullah’s views over the withdrawal of the central act from a few areas in the state, Vohra wanted the Centre to inject rationality into the debate. The bureaucrat-turned-governor apparently is unhappy the way the issue is being played out in the media with the army being targeted by Abdullah. He apparently conveyed to Gen Singh that the Centre should not allow the situation to get out of hand.
It’s learnt that while Gen Singh expressed his concern over the state government not paying heed to the army’s point of view, Vohra also made it known to him that he had taken up this unseemly fight with the CM too.
Looking forward to a debate on the issue before taking a decision, the governor will meet Antony, home minister P Chidambaram and PM Manmohan Singh on Monday. Abdullah, too, is slated to meet Chidambaram and the PM on Monday.
While Abdullah wants to withdraw the AFSPA on the basis of just six months of peace in 2011, the army has conveyed to the Centre that peace and violence have been in a sinusoidal curve in the state since Pakistan launched Operation Topac in 1987. For instance, the 1998 peace was followed by 1999 Kargil war.
Peace in 2011 was preceded by three years of violence in the state. It has been recommended that the decision be taken after due diligence as the impact of Arab spring and the withdrawal of ISAF troops from Afghanistan needs to be studied.