Triggered AFSPA debate to force its withdrawal: Omar
Asks Delhi To Address Internal, External Dimensions Of K-Issue
Srinagar, May 7: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday said he triggered a debate on the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) last year to “force a decision” for its selective withdrawal.
He said government has two options to go with on AFSPA. “One way is that you keep quiet and expect that something will happen or one way is to make a public discussion about it to force things in that direction. We decided for the second option as the silent option was tried and it did not yield the necessary results,” Omar said on the reopening of the civil secretariat here.
Omar Abdullah said there will be “forward movement” on revocation of the Act in coming months. “We have already made significant progress in arriving at some sort of conclusion to the discussion about the revocation of AFSPA selectively from certain parts of the state (but) unfortunately we were not able to cross that final mile,” Omar told reporters.
He said there was some digging in of heels from “several quarters” which was not unexpected. “I believe we are still on correct path and in the months ahead you will definitely see forward movement on selective revocation of AFSPA from parts of the state where Army has no need to operate,” Omar said.
The discussions on revocation of the law are going on in New Delhi both at political and operational levels, he said. “I have no doubts that we will achieve the results that we have set for.”
Latest debate over AFSPA revocation was set in by Omar on October 21, 2011, when at a police function he declared that the controversial law would be removed from parts of the state “within days.”
ON KASHMIR ISSUE
“We hope that the Centre will take all the steps needed to address the internal as well as external dimensions of the issue," Omar said.
He expressed hope that the ongoing dialogue between India and Pakistan will continue so that all the outstanding issues between the two countries are resolved.
"We will also make efforts to continue the dialogue process for addressing the political issue," Omar said.
ON PANCHAYAT RAJ
The Chief Minister said Government was facing resistance on empowering the Panchayat system. He said many steps have been taken in this direction but the process of empowering Sarpanchs and Panchs is not going to be “painless.”
Omar said government is putting in place a system that had not existed for more than 30 years. He said there is a generation of political leadership that “does not know” what it is like to function along with the elected Panchayat members and therefore unfortunately there will be “resistance from within the system” for devolution of some power from the existing system to the new system.
“It is that resistance we are seeking to break,” he responded to a question. “We have taken some crucial steps in this direction and over the next six months you will see further progress in the empowerment of the Panchayats.”
The CM said his government will expedite efforts to fulfill the commitments made to people during the 2008 Assembly Elections and thereafter.
“We have experienced that despite Common Minimum Program there is no end to fight (between coalition partners),” Omar said to a question that despite passing of three years government has no CMP to work on. “We are fulfilling the common promises made by the coalition parties in their election manifestos."
ON DURBAR MOVE
Terming the Durbar move as “necessary evil” Omar said there should be reverse of the practice so that the government stays with the people when they are facing hardships due to extreme weather.
“It is my personal opinion and not that of the government," he said. “It (Durbar move) is wasteful and expensive but there is no alternative and it is something that we have to live with.”
ON AMARNATH YATRA
Omar said his government would make necessary arrangements for the safety of Amaranth pilgrims. The government, he said, has requested the Amarnath Shrine Board to make health certificates mandatory for all the pilgrims from this year.
"Last year more than 100 pilgrims died because of poor health. The Amarnath Shrine Board has made health checks of pilgrims compulsory this year", he said.
ON RETURN OF MIGRANT PANDITS:
Omar said his government will take up with the Government of India enhancing the financial assistance for renovation and reconstruction of houses for Kashmiri Pandit families willing to return from present Rs 7 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
“At present, the assistance is only Rs 7 lakh, which is not enough,” said Omar.
ON ‘SECTARIAN TENSION’
Omar ruled out any role of the government in the ‘sectarian tension’ in the Valley. “Government should have no role in religious affairs as everybody has right to practice religion his/her own way,” Omar said. “My government will make no attempt to encourage groupism and in fact we will discourage any such move.”
On his arrival at the civil secretariat, the Chief Minister was given guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of the state armed police. Senior civil and police officers were present at the function.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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