Centre, J&K to prepare new draft of AFSPA | india | Hindustan Times
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Centre, J&K to prepare new draft of AFSPA

The Centre has asked Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah and the army to put an end to the public spat over the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas of the state. Arun Joshi reports. Edit: Since things are better...

india Updated: Nov 19, 2011 10:02 IST
Arun Joshi

The Centre has asked Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah and the army to put an end to the public spat over the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas of the state.

According to sources, the Centre is now preparing a fresh draft in consultation with the state government to find a mutually acceptable solution.

“The effort is directed at maintaining the prestige of an elected chief minister and the army that has made sacrifices and was instrumental in turning around the situation, in the state,” a highly placed source told HT on Friday.

Abdullah has also been advised to widen consultations with the army as it only brought peace to the state and, particularly so in the areas from where Abdullah proposes to lift the AFSPA, said the source.

Omar has proposed to lift the controversial AFSPA that gives sweeping powers to the army, from Srinagar and Budgam districts in the Kashmir valley and Jammu and Samba districts in the Jammu region.

Two panels, to be formed at the state and the Centre levels, would discuss the matter. And their recommendations, after a nod by the army, would form part of the final draft, added a source.

The final draft would then go to the state cabinet and subsequently to Governor NN Vohra, who would take a final view on the issue, said the source.

Abdullah, who recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and army chief general VK Singh during his recent visit to Delhi, sources said, had agreed to maintain silence over the issue till a middle ground was found.

The Army, too, would not be making any statement on this issue. Abdullah’s contention in doing away with the act in some areas is that the army could operate as it had done before August 2001 in the mountainous regions of Doda. He has also suggested re-imposition of AFSPA, if things go wrong.

No time frame has, however, been fixed for the final draft. But the two sides have agreed to fast-track it because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the source.