Centre to look into Armed Forces Special Powers Act: Chidambaram
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Centre to look into Armed Forces Special Powers Act: Chidambaram

Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is on a two-day visit to the state, said the Army has the responsibility for "conventional" defence at the borders and also countering infiltration and terrorism. Political parties in the state have been demanding the repeal of AFSPA on the ground that it gave unfettered powers to the security forces, who they accuse of "high-handedness".

india Updated: Jun 13, 2009 00:39 IST

Jammu and Kashmir is a state with “peculiar” problems, which require political solutions, said Home Minister P. Chidambaram here on Friday.

In a press conference, marking the end of his two-day visit to the state, he promised demilitarisation of cities and towns, withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and dialogues with separatists as part of the solution.

Chidambaram, however, said, “It will take time. There is no time-frame.”

Still, separatist leaders in the Valley saw hope in his statement. They expressed a guarded, but positive, response, hoping that “action will soon follow the words”.

For the first time, a Home Minister’s visit to the state witnessed no shutdown calls, as was the norm in the past.

“We don’t oppose for the sake of opposition. We wanted to see what he was going to say. It’s good that he came here to realise the situation,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the Hurriyat Conference.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik told HT Chidambaram’s statement was an outcome of the change from violence to non-violence in Kashmir.

First Published: Jun 12, 2009 11:28 IST