CM welcomes Soz’s ‘change of heart’ on AFSPA

MUDDASIR ALI

Ganderbal, May 28: Welcoming the state Congress’ changed stand on AFSPA revocation in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the move would help the state government to convince New Delhi to repeal the law.
Omar was responding to the latest statement of State Congress Chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz that time has come to revoke AFSPA from selected areas in J&K.
Omar said he was glad that Soz was seeing the things the way he was seeing them since in the past the Congress chief has publicly announced his reservation on selective repealing of the law.
“There is a change in his (Soz’s) thought,” Omar said on the sidelines of foundation laying ceremony of the Central University Kashmir here.
Omar said the support of Soz would go a long way in convincing the authorities in New Delhi to take steps for revoking the law.
On Monday Soz told reporters at a party function at Srinagar that he believed “it was time to lift AFSPA from some areas in the state”. However, he said the issue should not be politicized.
Omar said there was no question of politicizing the revocation of AFSPA on his part.
“At least from my side, there has been no politicization nor will it be in future,” he said.
Asked whether he expects a breakthrough on AFSPA revocation anytime in near future, Omar said he has taken up the issue with concerned quarters.  “I cannot predict future,” he responded.
In 2011 Omar triggered the debate over AFSPA revocation when, at a police function on Srinagar outskirts, he said the controversial law would be removed from parts of the state “within days.”
Later he told media persons the law would go during his tenure in the office.
However, the Army and Defense Ministry has repeatedly opposed any such move to “dilute” powers of the armed forces in J&K, saying it could prove counter-productive.

ON CHINA’S ROAD CONSTRUCTION ACROSS LAC:
Omar said New Delhi should take up with Beijing if China has done any road construction on Indian side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
However Omar said he does not have any report from the local administration in Ladakh that would suggest that the Chinese have constructed a road inside the Indian Territory.

ON HARASSMENT OF KASHMIRIS OUTSIDE:
Earlier Omar said there was a need to change the attitude of looking at Kashmiris with suspicion in outside states.
“Whether it is Jan 26 or August 15, our students are viewed with suspicion outside Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar said while addressing a gathering of a few thousands supporters of his party and students.
He said Kashmiris have proven time and again they were talented. “They only lack opportunity,” Omar said.

ON UNIVERSITY
Omar said due to delay on starting the process for setting up the Central University there were apprehensions that government might have to give up the project in Ganderbal.
“Better late than never,” Omar said.
However, he demanded that Kashmiris should get benefit in admission in the University, and some quota of seats should be reserved for them.
Omar told the University's Vice Chancellor Abdul Wahid Qureshi that people of Ganderbal, the constituency he represents in state assembly have been ignored by the varsity authorities in making appointments at different levels including cooks, laborers and watchmen.
“As a local MLA I say it is unfortunate that people of Ganderbal were ignored and instead outsiders were employed,” Omar said. “The University must ensure that smaller works inside the campus are allotted to local contractors,” he demanded.
Union Human Resources Minister Pallam Raju said the New Delhi wanted the University to start functioning soon.
“But there should be no comprise on quality of infrastructure so that we can attract international faculty because of its beautiful environment,” Raju said.
Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand sought enhanced assistance on 90: 10 pattern from New Delhi under RMSA and SSA education schemes for infrastructure building in J&K.
Minister for Higher Education, Muhammad Akbar Lone said 12 Women Colleges were under construction in the State to expand the orbit of education for girl students.
The Vice-Chancellor Central University Abdul Wahid Qureshi said the varsity was being set up on more than 500 acres of land.
Presently the University which came into existence in 2009 is functioning from rented buildings in Srinagar and its outskirts.
Without naming anybody the VC told the Chief Minister that he had complaints against two of his colleagues. “But I will brief you about it later,” the VC said.
The Chancellor Central University Shri Kumar Banerjee also spoke on the occasion.
The function saw participation of National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah and number of cabinet ministers from both Congress and National Conference.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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