Home minister P Chidambaram stood up in defence of J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday, saying there was "nothing unusual" in the chief minister's plans to lift the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state.
Chidambaram also made it clear that Abdullah was not working in isolation or at cross-purposes with the Centre, pointing out that the Cabinet Committee on Security had on 25 September last year taken the decision.
"On September 25, 2010, the CCS finalised a 8-point agenda to restore normalcy in J&K. Point 6 of that states the state government will review deployment of security forces, bunkers in Srinagar and also review areas declared as disturbed areas. The CM's move, therefore, is nothing new or unusual," said Chidambaram.
Abdullah has been under attack from army officers for proposing to remove the legal shield that AFSPA offers to jawans. The BJP had also criticised Abdullah, followed next by the state Congress, which wanted to be consulted after worries that Abdullah's National Conference might take all the credit for removing AFSPA.