J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed disappointment over the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) postponing a decision on withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from six districts of the state.
Abdullah had recently recommended to the central government that the Act be revoked in three districts —including Srinagar — in Kashmir and three in Jammu. The chief minister had hoped that revocation of the stringent law would be a prelude to the announcement of a package on Kashmir that would pave the way for a dialogue to restore peace in the Valley.
“I am very disappointed and will meet my cabinet colleagues tomorrow and take a decision on what to do hereafter,’’ Abdullah told HT minutes after news came in that the CCS had put off a decision on his recommendation.
Abdullah, who was in Delhi over the weekend to discuss ways to end the current crisis in Kashmir with top leaders of the UPA and cabinet ministers, returned to Srinagar on Monday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Abdullah met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to persuade the Centre to provide concessions to arrest the cycle of violence in his state.
After landing in Srinagar, Abdullah chaired a meeting of the state cabinet to discuss the fresh outbreak of violence in which 13 people, including a policeman, were killed.
Violence broke out in parts of the Valley after news spread that a man had desecrated the Quran in the US. “The cabinet was unanimous in condemning the alleged acts of desecration of the holy Quran, as reported by certain sections of the international media,’’ said Law Minister Ali Mohammed Sagar.
The cabinet also expressed its complete understanding of the genuinely hurt sentiments of the people on this account. It appealed to the people not to take the law into their hands.