Ahead of APD visit: JK coalition partners differ on AFSPA call
Srinagar, Sep 17: Ahead of the All Party Delegations’ visit to Kashmir on Monday to assess the situation and provide feedback to New Delhi on whether to re-visit the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act, the coalition partners in the state government, National Conference and Congress, seems to be moving in opposite directions on the issue.
While the National Conference is firm on their stand seeking removal of the Act from certain areas or at least its dilution, the state Congress believes that “some apprehensions” raised by New Delhi and the Army have to be taken into consideration before taking a final call on the issue.
“Our stand is clear (on AFSPA). We put forth our views on removal of the act from certain areas during the All Party Meeting in New Delhi and we will continue to pursue it,” said senior vice president of NC, Choudhary Muhammad Ramzaan.
However he said government of India had yet to take a decision on the issue and that is why an ALL Party Delegation is visiting Kashmir. “We are hopeful that things will move in a positive direction,” he said.
Senior NC leader, Ali Muhammad Sagar, told Greater Kashmir that the party had already made its position clear on AFSPA. “We will continue to seek its revocation. We have to understand that it is not the solution to the Kashmir problem but one of the Confidence Building Measures that needs to be initiated,” said Sagar, who is also Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.
What will be the NC’s stand when the APD arrives here? “Apart from AFSPA, we will discuss with the delegation that now is the time that both state and center need to work together to address the external and internal dimension of Kashmir problem. Obviously we will seek restoration of autonomy however if there is any better solution acceptable to people of Jammu and Kashmir, NC will support it,” he said.
Being a state level party, NC has started to feel the pressure arising out of the 3-month long crisis in the Valley in which more than 100 people have been killed in police and CRPF action. And in the backdrop of this crisis the party recently announced that it wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of 2000 when it continued to be part of BJP led NDA government despite when center had rejected autonomy proposal to state which was passed by JK legislature.
However, NC’s coalition partner, Congress has its own stand on the AFSPA revocation. “In principal we agree that the demand for revocation of AFSPA from certain areas by the chief minister is right. But what will happen if those areas later become the sanctuaries for anti-state elements. That is where Army and center has some apprehensions. We have to arrive at some sort of consensus before taking a decision,” he said.
Responding to question that NC had made its stand clear on the issue, he said: “They are our coalition partners. We respect their feelings. We know to abide by the coalition dharma. The AFSPA needs to be discussed in detail before any decision is taken on it,” he said.
Another senior Congress leader, wishing not to be quoted, said: “I don’t think state Congress leaders will raise any demand on the Act which is in contravention to the stand of Congress high Command.” Rather, he said the party leaders in Jammu and Kashmir would prefer to watch the developments from the center.
“Let us see what happens this time,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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