OMAR SIGNS OFF AFTER MEETING ARMY CHIEF
New Delhi, Nov 15: Seeking to build bridges with the army top brass after his stringent reaction early this month that “no was not an option to withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA),” in the face of stiff resistance to his proposal by the armed forces, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had a breakfast meeting with Army Chief General V K Singh on Tuesday.
The move is being seen as part of the fire-fighting process initiated by beleaguered Omar to tide over political crisis generated by the issue.
Although the two sides remained tight-lipped on whether the AFSPA issue figured in the talks, it is learnt that the overall security scenario prevailing in the state was broached by both the sides. It was the last of series of “productive” meetings that Omar had during his two day stay here to drum support for his proposal for partial withdrawal of AFSPA from J&K’s four districts including Srinagar and Budgam.
The meeting assumed significance as it was held in the backdrop of Defence Minister AK Antony reiterating his opposition to the move during his meeting with the Chief Minister on Sunday.
Both sides remained tight-lipped about the meeting, and Omar only twitted on micro-blogging saying; “Off to Jammu now. Last engagement was breakfast with the COAS Gen VK Singh. That wraps up this Delhi visit.”
On his part, General Singh has also been on record vehemently opposing the withdrawal of AFSPA which he said would create operational problems for the army as had happened in Manipur.
During his three day stay in Delhi before flying back to Jammu, Omar had met other central leaders led by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He held separate meetings with Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister and UPA’s trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee.
The meeting also assumed importance as General Singh had on Sunday met Governor NN Vohra to discuss the issue. On his part, Vohra had also been holding parleys with the central leaders and was believed to have backed the armed forces concerns on withdrawal of AFSPA.
After meeting Sonia Gandhi Monday evening, Omar twitted; “Had a meeting with Sonia Ji this evening. Overall a very productive day-long consultations.”
The Chief Minister had said yesterday that his main purpose of the visit here was to arrive at a workable solution.
“Obviously the effort is to narrow the differences between what we could like to see happening and what the army has so far publicly stated as comfortable to let it happen,” he observed.
According to sources privy to the Omar’s meetings in Delhi, the central leaders have asked the chief minister to be patient till the consultation processes between the home ministry and the defence ministry, including the army, was completed.
The beleaguered Chief Minister, who had till recently, said that he would not accept “no” as an answer to his demand, Monday agreed to further consultations and talks on the AFSPA withdrawal.
(With inputs from Agencies)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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