Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah is expected to start the process to lift the Disturbed Areas Act from parts of the state over the next few weeks, a move that would automatically take the selected districts out of the purview of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
Abdullah — who will meet senior UPA leaders during his visit to the Capital on Tuesday — had been putting off a decision on pruning the list of districts where the Disturbed Areas Act (DD Act) is applicable in view of the tourist season.
The security establishment in the state did not want to experiment with any changes to the security grid during the state's first tourist season.
With 7 lakh tourist arrivals and 6.5 lakh Amarnath yatris travelling to the state this summer, sources said the government did not want to take any steps that could go wrong and hit the tourism economy, the most significant source of livelihood for lakhs of people in the state.
Abdullah is likely to discuss implementation of the initiative during the visit. Home minister P Chidambaram had last year convinced the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give its approval to a phased withdrawal of DD Act from districts that have witnessed low levels of militancy-related violence.
Once this happens, the AFSPA would cease to be in force for the selected districts and end the special protection that the armed forces get under this law.