Army to stop ops if Omar lifts AFSPA? | india | Hindustan Times
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Army to stop ops if Omar lifts AFSPA?

In an indication of the growing chasm between the Army and the J&K government, senior military sources indicated on Thursday that the former might suspend counter-insurgency operations if chief minister Omar Abdullah unilaterally lifted the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2011 00:43 IST
Arun Joshi

In an indication of the growing chasm between the Army and the J&K government, senior military sources indicated on Thursday that the former might suspend counter-insurgency operations if chief minister Omar Abdullah unilaterally lifted the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state.

Speaking to the media in Srinagar a day after chairing a meeting at which the Army reiterated its reservations against the partial withdrawal of the Act, Abdullah said: "No cannot be the answer" to his proposal for the phased withdrawal AFSPA from areas where militancy had been contained.

"As chief minister of the state, I have the authority do it (lift AFSPA)," he added.

The political grapevine in Srinagar is buzzing with talk of the imminent lifting of AFSPA in Srinagar, Budgam and some other areas.

The Army had suspended operations in 1996-97, when the then Farooq Abdullah government had replaced two corps commanders as security advisors with a senior police officer. It finally relented and came out of its barracks again only after the state government backtracked on its decision and restored the positions to its officers.

A defiant Omar Abdullah is hoping his strong stand in favour of partially lifting AFSPA, which protects all actions of security personnel from judicial scrutiny, will help him regain the political capital — and authority — he has lost since his swearing in almost three years ago following a series of violent street agitations, administrative lapses and the controversial death of a party worker last month.