Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said defence minister A K Antony had vetoed the proposal of partial revocation of AFSPA even as the prime minister had agreed to it.
“The then home minister P Chidambaram and I were on the same page on this issue. Even the Prime Minister had agreed to walk with us. But the defence minister vetoed the proposal on the advice of the army,” Omar Abdullah told the state assembly while replying to the debate on the grants of ministries headed by him, including home, health and power.
“The defence minister agreed to listen to the army. We can’t do any thing about it,” he said. Omar had, in October, 2011, said partial revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would take place before opening durbar (civil secretariat) in Jammu,which starts its six-month functioning here in the first week of November.
The CM had proposed revocation of AFSPA from only four districts where incidents of terrorism had come down. However, it had not happened till now. Omar said even though there has been 71 per cent decline in the incidents of militancy in the last five-years, we are being threatened against pushing this proposal on the plea that security situation in the state is likely to worsen after the US pull-out from Afghanistan in 2014.
“We will see how situation turns when pull-out takes place,” said Omar. US led foreign troops are scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of this year. In the state even though incidents of violence have come down there has been increase in terror strikes on security forces. In 2013, incidents of violence had declined by 23 per cent, but 53 security personnel were killed in 2013 against 15 such casualties in 2012.
“The process of revocation of AFSPA will start during the term of this government.There is still time to it,” he said. Omar said revocation of AFSPA will not be an insult to martyrs, as suggested by some MLAs. Rather it would be a tribute to those who by laying their lives brought normalcy to a state wherein this Act can be revoked.
‘WELCOME SURRENDERED MILITANTS’
Omar said people should welcome militants who are coming back to the state under the government’s rehabilitation policy. “Pak doesn’t want them to come back. But their return shows that all terrorist infrastructures are intact across the border .It exposes them (Pakistani authorities). So we should welcome the surrendered militants.”
The CM said till now 308 militants have come back to the state and not even one of them has taken up arms again. Claiming the success of the rehabilitation policy, Omar even dared BJP to stop this process. “God forbids if your (BJP) government comes to power at the Centre, then we will see if your government will change the policy,” he added.