Time to believe in police, paramilitary forces: Omar

‘CRPF, JK Police Have Acquired Ability To Deal With Situation In Areas Where We Could Dispense With Army, AFSPA’


New Delhi, Dec 21: Pushing for partial withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday discounted suggestions that this will “benefit militants”, saying “it is time to believe in the state police and paramilitary forces.” “First and foremost I never advocated lifting it from areas close to the Line of Control or so. I have suggested that it could be lifted from areas like Srinagar and Jammu cities," Omar said while interacting with media-persons here at a programme hosted by the Press Club of India.
He was asked about apprehensions that the areas, where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act will be withdrawn, would become a “safe haven for militants.” “On the one hand you say that you have faith in state police and CRPF and in the same breath you say that AFSPA should remain,” he contended.
The Chief Minister said the situation in the state had improved over the last 10 years and the level of violence had come down to five per cent of what it was in 2002. “I believe the CRPF and JK police have acquired the ability to deal with the situation in areas where we could dispense with any sort of Army involvement and these are the sort of areas from where we are asking for removal of AFSPA... So if you don't need to operate, therefore, the need for AFSPA should also no longer exist as well,” he said.
On why there has been no progress on the AFSPA issue, he said, “We have not been successful but this does not mean that we should not try. We are trying and I know for sure that something positive will emerge.”
Omar said it was unfortunate that his government was closely scrutinised on AFSPA. “I am trying and doing my best. I wonder why you people (media) don't talk about the failures of my predecessor about self-rule, dual currency and demilitarization or for that matter the so-called independence slogan of separatists.” “Judge me when you question everyone. At least I am not building castles in the air like others have done. I am doing something and promising something which is possible,” he said.
Asked about unmarked graves issue, Omar said that his government's stand was absolutely clear that those talking about disappearances should come with a DNA sample to a nodal officer posted in State Human Rights Commission. “Should a kith and kin of someone believes that one of their people is buried in those unmarked graves they should supply us with DNA sample and we would again do DNA profile of the missing people with the unmarked graves. We gave an open offer for this. But unfortunately no one has yet come forward to take up our claim on this,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that J-K required a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which should be allowed to probe in the state as well as in Pakistan-Administered-Kashmir. “Because there are far too many questions which require answers and those won't be available in the Valley only. Take for example the instance of disappearances. How could you make an example or assumptions that all those people who have been disappeared have been killed by the security forces? What about the people killed by the militants. What about those who went across (PaK) and dies while trying to come back or infiltrate. What about those who went to training camps,” he said.
Omar said certain questions need to be answered. “What happens to youngsters who go to the training camps?”
Asked about his party National Conference not honouring its promise of autonomy in 1996 and now about repealing of AFSPA, Omar said, “just because something is difficult to achieve, should we stop talking about it.” "I don't see you ask this questions to the Mirwaiz or others who promises azaadi and doesn't deliver. Why don't you judge them by the same standards?”
He said: "It is my responsibility to the people to restore autonomy in the state and phase-wise removal of AFSPA and they are possible. They are not impossible. They are far easier to achieve than dual currency or complete demilitarization. We will continue to try for that.”

Omar said, “When I advocate withdrawal of AFSPA it does not mean that I am asking for the Army to be removed from troubled places like Sopore, Handwara, Baramula but places in and around Srinagar where CRPF and JK Police are doing an effective job. The army can be removed from these places because they are merely camping there and the work at the ground level is being done by the other security agencies.”
He said: “Let them (Army) say that they have no confidence in CRPF and the J&K police, I will sit down and not utter a word if they do so.”
Omar said he has written to the Union Home Ministry about relaxation of the inner line permit in Ladakh region of the state on the lines of such relaxation in the North-East states.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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