Ready to do away with Public Safety Act: Omar
Amnesty Report Won’t Be Relegated To Dustbin
Jammu, Mar 23: The state government will study a report by the international human rights watchdog Amnesty International on alleged human rights abuses in the state and would not relegate it to the “dustbin”, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Wednesday.
“The report would not be ignored nor it would be thrown into the dustbin,” Omar told the state assembly. He said his government was ready to discus the `draconian’ Public Safety Act (PSA) and its possible revocation from the state.
“I have not studied the Amnesty report in detail, but yes, I can assure this House that same will not be ignored and relegated to dustbin but it would be considered on merits in the light of prevailing circumstances”, Omar told the Legislative Assembly, while replying to the discussion on grants for the departments under his charge.
Referring to the visit of the Amnesty team’s visit to the state, the chief minister said that his government had no objection with “such visits”. “I met the Amnesty team and we gave them access to all information, we did not hide anything as we had nothing to hide and despite knowing that the report emerging out of it might be against us,” he said.
“The report in an important document which needs to be studied seriously and there are many lessons to be learnt from it”, he said adding there are several things in it that need to be considered on merits.
On the Amnesty observations regarding Public Safety Act, Omar said that his government has no hesitation in discussing the possibility of revoking the decades old law from the state.
“We have been talking about everything from troop-cut to revocation of AFSPA but nobody has ever uttered a word over it. Even you (PDP) have been shying away from taking up this matter possibly because you also know that Iss Hamam Main Sabh Nangay Hain”.
Without naming the opposition PDP, he said, “When I am using the law to ensure law and order, may be you have also utilized the same during your tenure”.
Time, he said, has come when the law and its requirement in the state should be deliberated upon. “And I believe that there is no best forum than the House itself to discuss the matter”, he added.
The Chief Minister, however, strongly contested the opposition claims that large-scale arrests were being made in the state following the summer unrest last year.
“A wrong impression is being created that jails are filled with youth. The data speaks contrary”, he said, “There were 1153 incidents of violence in 2010 and 4,000 people were arrested, which means that on an average four people have been booked in each case”, he said while adding that at present there are 171 people in custody, of them 128 under PSA, 24 under judicial custody and 19 in police custody.
He said his government was not drawing pleasure out of the violence and arrests but registration of the cases and the subsequent arrests of the youth was moral and legal obligation of the government. “Hum Majboor Hain Aur Main Manta Hoon Ki Lanat Ho Aisi Majboori Par”, he said adding, “But I have a duty towards those who were affected due to the unrest and violence during the unrest and I have a duty to maintain peace ahead”.
He said that the state suffered huge loss due to the cycle of violence and the impact was being seen even this year.
“We have seen 50 percent decline in tourist inflow in the first three months of this year compared to the corresponding period last year”, he said.
DIG AT PDP
The Chief Minister took a dig at the main opposition PDP for linking everything to summer unrest.
Without naming anyone, he said, “In their speeches we were told that we failed to deliver so be prepared for June. The leader of opposition told the House that we failed to spend money on developmental projects so be ready for June”.
He said that the roots of the trouble which erupted in 2009 and 2010 lay in Amarnath land row of 2008, when transfer of 100 acres of land near the pilgrim spot snowballed into a major political controversy.
“The stone pelting and worsening situation every summer is not my creation but the process started during your government when your minister handed over the land and later withdrew his decision. Then in 2009, Shopian happened and we had to face stones again”.
Referring to the accusation of the opposition that the government was responsible for the reversal of the healing touch policy, he said, “The facts and figures speak contrary”.
“When I take a look at the policy which you termed as Healing Touch, I noticed that the policy in fact existed nowhere. You (PDP) claimed to have disbanded Special Task Force (STF) but instead only the name of the force was changed”.
“The human rights violations continued, passport blackout was ensured and when CPI MLA MY Tarigami brought a resolution regarding rehabilitation of youth who had crossed to the other side of border, you (PDP) and your government voted against it”.
“We formulated and enacted a proper policy and have so far received 600 applications from the youth who want to return back. About 25 applications have been processed and we are hopeful that the process will begin soon. It is just a small beginning and so far it has shown some positive results”.
A DIFFICULT YEAR
Maintaining that 2010 was a difficult year, Omar said, “Till June there was relative peace and government was hoping for good working season ahead. However, things took an ugly turn after June and the consequences were there for everybody to see,” he said.
Omar said that things have been put in place to ensure that such conditions do not re-emerge again in Jammu and Kashmir. “But it is said that conditions are being created for the same and I appeal all those don’t do it as all of us will be affected by turmoil. Give us a peaceful season and you will see the change in ground”.
“I have two exams to pass this year. It includes Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) but to take any decision to review them peace has to be brought in the state”.
He said that number of steps were taken by the government in this direction, but these measures were overshadowed by the summer turmoil. “In 2009 two Army battalions were removed, CRPF was asked to go back to barracks, 39 bunkers were dismantled from the city areas. We had also begun talks on AFSPA revocation, but situation created hurdles in the way”, he said.
SEPARATISTS AND TALKS
Attacking separatists for remaining in their self-created shells, Omar Abdullah said that if they can talk about ‘Azadi’, merger of Kashmir with Pakistan and plebiscite in rallies why cannot they come for dialogue with the interlocutors, appointed to see the contours of political problems of J&K.
He said that appointment of interlocutors was a major initiative for finding a political solution to the vexed issue. “The issue can never be separated from the political point of view and we all have collective responsibility. Though roads are different but their destination is same and dialogue is the only way to reach a common solution”.
“Some are talking about self rule, some demanding autonomy and others seeking abrogation of Article 370. But the difference may be in the roadmap not the destination”.
However he cautioned interlocutors not to go to press every time they have an idea about the Kashmir issue.
Describing Interlocutors as bridge of political dialogue to address Kashmir issue, Omar expressed the hope that those who have not yet participated in the process would become its part soon to put forth their view points.
He, however, desired that the report of the interlocutors should be submitted in one go and not in pieces.
REEMERGENCE OF IKHWAN
Negating any facts about the re-emergence of Ikhwanis, Chief Minister said that there is no truth in these “canards spread by some vested interests”. “Rumours are being spread that government is establishing an Ikhwan force and a political front was being created, but these are just wild allegations against the government”, he said adding that contesting elections by Ikhwan cadres was nothing new but the government had no role to play in it.
Omar said that the resumption of the dialogue process between India and Pakistan was a welcome step but it was necessary for both the countries to ensure that the talks progress in right direction.
“When the relations between the two neighbours are good, Jammu and Kashmir reaps its dividends in the shape of peace and economic activities and when these are sour, we have to face the brunt”, he said and expressed the hope that the dialogue between the two countries will move on positively.
“Indo-Pak dialogue process is an international matter and State Government has little to take credit about it though necessary inputs are being taken from us in this regard, he impliedly referred to the assertion of PDP that they initiate the Indo-Pak dialogue in their tenure”.
Asking BJP to shun its rigid stand, Abdullah reminded the party of the speech delivered by the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 15 from the Red Fort when he had said that the mistakes regarding Jammu and Kashmir would not be repeated and its solution would be sought under the ambit of humanism. “We have to work and seek solution to the issue under this spirit”, he said.
POLICE RECRUIMNT TO CONTINE
Rubbishing the charges of the opposition members that police recruitment is done on the basis of party consideration, Chief Minister said that DGP has never accompanied him during the rallies and organised recruitment drives. “I have been charged that DGP goes along with me in rallies, but the fact is that the incident of Doda quoted by the opposition was by just chance as we both had to go to district and used the same helicopter”.
Referring to the recruitment rally at Khanyar, Srinagar, he said that it was after 20 years that direct police recruitment rally was organised in the area. “I had a close door discussion over the matter with Ali Muhammad Sagar, whom I cautioned that during 2002-08 recruitment drives were organised in 18 constituencies and except Mian Altaf and Taj-Mohi-Ud-Din all the members lost the elections. “We know that it does not ensure that people will vote you back in elections”, he said.
The Chief Minister said that such rallies will be held in those areas which are under represented “in most transparent and fair manner”.
He said that such rallies would be held irrespective of any consideration, simply for engaging the deserving candidates from the areas left so far under represented, whether it will be Wachi, Bijbehara, Jammu-East, Jammu-West or some other area.
However, the Chief Minister referred to the political adventurism by the then PDP-Government in distribution of SRO job orders to the beneficiaries at public meetings requesting Central leaders like Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson and even President of India for distribution of these job orders even though these orders had been prepared and approved by the Dr Farooq-led National Conference Government and concerned Deputy Commissioners.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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