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'Spl powers act will be revoked within days'

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Disturbed Areas Act will be revoked from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir within the next few days, chief minister Omar Abdullah said today. Aashiq Bhatt reports.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2011 00:44 IST
Aashiq Bhatt

Within days the controversial laws like Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in force in Jammu and Kashmir would be revoked from some areas of the state, chief minister Omar Abdullah said on Friday.


Addressing a gathering of Policemen at the Police Commemoration Day function held at Zewan in South Kashmir, Omar said the time has come for the withdrawal of the laws.

"As the situation improved in the state, people would often complain that the laws which were invoked after the eruption of violence in the state are not being lifted. Today I want to say that perhaps the time has come and the situation also allows us to initiate the revocation of those laws from some areas," Omar said.

The announcement of the revocation came days after centre-appointed interlocutors, tasked to find a political solution to Kashmir issue, submitted their report to Union home minister P Chidambaram earlier this month. After the report was submitted, Omar Abdullah had a meeting with Union home minister over the review of the AFSPA.

Omar did not specify the areas from where the laws would be revoked. "I am not in a position to name those areas right now but I can assure you that we have reached a point after which we can start the revocation of the laws from some areas within some days," he said.

AFSPA was invoked in Kashmir valley and in some areas of Jammu division in the year 1990 after militancy erupted in the state. However in 2001 it was extended to all the districts of the state.

As the militancy showed a decline after 2005 and the situation improved, the revocation of AFSPA was perhaps the one common point over which separatists as well as the mainstream politicians had a consensus in the state. Omar, himself, was a strong advocator for the revocation of the law. But the revocation of the law was often opposed by the army arguing that it would "hamper their operational capabilities".

Lieutenant general S A Husnain, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar based Chinar Corps, on Monday(October 17) had said that the discussion on the review or revocation of AFSPA was not discussed even once during meetings of Unified Command meetings.

Omar admitted that the revocation would increase the responsibilities of Police and CRPF particularly in the areas where the laws would be called back. He, however, downplayed the "speculation reflected from some" quarters about the maintenance of security situation in these areas by the police after the removal of AFSPA.

"J&K Police is capable of maintaining peaceful situation and blunting any threat in this regard. There is no need of any fear on this count," Omar said.

Omar expressed hope for the removal of the laws from the all parts of the state. "The return of peaceful situation has paved the way in this direction and these laws would be revoked from all parts of the State with the restoration of peace and tranquility," he said.

Reactions

Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq: "This is appreciable because India has understood that they can't hold Kashmir by military might. One thing is to be kept in mind is that these are only confidence building measures that will help improve the situation and provide a conducive atmosphere but can't be termed as resolution. The need is to revoke these laws from every part of Kashmir if that happens that will be welcome"


People Democratic Party Spokesman, Nayeem Akhtar: "If it is implemented on ground, it is welcome. We have been asking for this for a long time. But we take all the announcements of Omar Abdullah with a pinch of salt. He has been making many promises before as well. About the revocation of these laws let's hope he does it well this time".