Omar takes AFSPA campaign to Delhi
Meets Antony; Likely To Meet PM, HM Today
Jammu, Nov 13: Amid growing differences between the state government and army over the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has finally turned to New Delhi to enable himself to proceed with his move of partially withdrawing the controversial law from the state.
Well informed sources said that Omar left for New Delhi on Saturday and is expected to stay there for a couple of days. He met the Defence Minister AK Antony on Sunday and is expected to meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and top Congress leaders, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee in an attempt to build consensus over the revocation of the AFSPA from “peaceful areas” of the state.
Sources said Omar called on Antony on Sunday evening and discussed in detail the security situation across the state and the proposed move of the state government. The chief minister is understood to have informed the Defence minister about proceedings of the recently held Unified Command Headquarters meeting, where army commanders reportedly resisted the move and even threatened to “halt operations across the state” in case the law was revoked from “any part of the state.”
The meeting between Omar and Antony comes in the backdrop of the recent statement of Defence Minister where he termed the matter as “sensitive”, observing that “a final decision on the issue would be taken by the Unified Command Headquarters in the state”.
The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah confirmed his meeting with the Defence minister but refused to elaborate. “Yes, I have just finished meeting the Defence Minister. I don't intend to speak to the media for the time being,” he wrote on the micro blogging site Twitter.
Sources revealed that Omar is expected to meet Prime Minister and Home Minister P Chidambram on Monday. He is also expected to meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee. “The home ministry is already informed about all the developments but Omar intends to meet Chidambram in person to elaborate things on AFSPA,” the sources said.
He is also expected to meet top Congress leadership in New Delhi before returning to the state, they added.
Both army and the chief minister have hardened their stand over the issue in the recent meeting of Unified Command. While army has expressed serious reservations, Omar has made it clear that there was no room for “backtracking from the commitment”.
Set up by then chief minister Farooq Abdullah soon after the National Conference won the Assembly elections of 1996, the Unified Command is the supreme body for taking any decision with regard to the security in the state. Headed by the chief minister, the Unified Command’s role has always been limited to help coordination between different forces, discuss the feedback on operations especially from the civilian administration and synergize anti-militancy operations.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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