The Congress, a partner in the coalition government headed by the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, has slammed chief minister Omar Abdullah’s move to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some districts.
“The chief minister’s unilateral decision is a blunder,” said state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz, who is a contender for the CM’s post, which the state unit of his party wants rotated.
Abdullah had announced his decision on October 21 after discussions with union home minister P Chidambaram. The AFSPA, in force in the state for more than a decade, empowers security forces to shoot at sight or arrest people without a warrant in areas declared “disturbed”.
“If he (Abdullah) merely meets the home minister and cooks up something, it is not sufficient,” Soz told HT. “He should have consulted me but holding consultations is not his style.”
Abdullah responded by saying, “Soz, as head of the coordination committee (of the coalition), can call a meeting to discuss the matter. We will welcome their point of view.”
In Delhi, the Congress’s central leadership has refused to take a stand on the debate on withdrawing the AFSPA, saying the central government and related agencies were best placed to take a decision.
The central leadership has also ruled out any possibility of asking Abdullah to make way for a Congress chief minister.