Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said withdrawal of the Armed Forces pecial Power Act (AFSPA) from certain areas of the state was in no way an effort to undermine the role of the Army.
"The army is essentially playing a major role in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir", Omar said in a statement in Jammu.
"Even the process of removal of AFSPA from certain areas of Jammu and Kashmir state is being done in close consultation with the Army and other central paramilitary forces and their inputs and security concerns will be evaluated and considered while removing the footprint of AFSPA from certain parts of the state," he said.
The Chief Minister has said an attempt is being made to create an impression that the state government and the Army are working on divergent paths, which is not correct.
Omar said the state had a peaceful summer for which the credit first goes to the people of the state and then the state administration, police, central para-military forces and the Army who worked jointly to ensure that all steps are taken in coordination with each other to ensure peace in the state.
Omar said it is nobody’s case to demonize the Army as the Army has proved time and again that it is a disciplined force which is governed by certain standard operating procedures and particularly in the last one year the Army has gone close to the people of the state because of the goodwill created by them among the people of the state.
The Chief Minister said a statement from his senior party colleague, which has been clarified as “mis-reported and mis-represented”, has nothing to do with the state government’s opinion as well as relationship with the Army.
After multiple attacks in Kashmir Valley, ruling National Conference(NC) leader Mustafa Kamal had on Tuesday and Wednesday created a controversy alleging the Army may have had a hand but later sought to defuse the row saying he has not accused any security agency of involvement.
He said the state government enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Army which has always responded in a positive manner to the suggestions of the state government so far as the welfare and the security of the people of the state is concerned.
Omar said he had promised to the people of the state that if they give him peace his government will remove the footprint of certain laws from the peaceful parts of the state and he stands by that commitment of his to the people of the state and the process of due diligence in the matter and consultation thereof are at an advanced stage.
He expressed the hope that the people of the state will understand the security concerns of the different arms of the government and cooperate with the government to ensure that the removal of AFSPA becomes a permanent feature and not allow a situation to arise in the state where such laws have either to be retained or re-imposed.