JK officials to visit Delhi for talks

Jammu, Nov 20: A high-level team of officials from Jammu and Kashmir, including Director General of Police (DGP) is likely to visit New Delhi on November 28 to hold discussions with the central go...

Jammu, Nov 20: A high-level team of officials from Jammu and Kashmir, including Director General of Police (DGP) is likely to visit New Delhi on November 28 to hold discussions with the central government officials on the partial revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of the state.
 Informed sources told Greater Kashmir said that a five member team comprising state Home Secretary B R Sharma and DGP Kuldeep Khoda will visit New Delhi to hold deliberations on partial revocation of AFSPA.
 "The state government officials would be holding discussions with a panel of the central government to find out a middle ground to lift the law from some of the areas of Jammu and Kashmir," a top official told Greater Kashmir.
 "The decision in this effect has been taken following raging controversy over Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's demand for revocation of AFSPA from some parts of the state. The JK officials will clear the stand of the state government and will apprise the central government officials about the prevailing situation in the state," he said.
 Sources added that the team would also discuss all the pros and cons of AFSPA, especially when the militant activities have reduced significantly. After the discussion, the team would try to find out a middle path which would be acceptable to the people of the state, the army and the central government.
 According to sources, army would be involved, both at the local level as also at the level of army headquarters, to iron out differences.
 Keeping in view the proposed visit of the President of India Pratibha Devsingh Patel to Jammu on November 25 and 26, sources said the team would be sent at the end of this month.
 A top police official requesting anonymity said it was a "routine visit", though it holds great significance keeping in view the controversy over partial revocation of AFSPA from the state.
 Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had been pitching for the revocation of the AFSPA from at least four districts of the state – two each from Kashmir and Jammu divisions – where the army had not been operating since long.
 However, army has opposed the move of the state government saying the security forces would become handicapped without the act, while citing internal and external security concerned.
 On Saturday, the chief minister had told media here that "army's concerns would be addressed".
 The latest debate over AFSPA revocation in the state flared-up, after Omar at a police function near Zewan, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on October 21 announced that AFSPA would "be removed from parts of the state within days".
 On October 25, Omar told a Delhi-based news channel that a decision on AFSPA revocation would be taken before the civil secretariat and other move offices close in Srinagar for annual Durbar move to Jammu on October 28.
 It was widely believed that a decision on partial revocation of the controversial law would be taken in the state cabinet meeting held here on October 28.
 However, after state Congress and the Army opposed the move tooth and nail, Omar had said the issue would be discussed in November after move offices open in Jammu.
 "It never came as a proposal (in the cabinet meeting on Oct 28). So how can it be deferred? It was always slated to be discussed formally in Jammu once offices open," Omar tweeted on microblogging site Twitter on October 29.
 Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, on October 31 said that was nothing "unusual" in Omar's announcement on partial removal of AFSPA from the state as "the move is part of the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) last September."
 The Unified Headquarters meeting held in Jammu on November 9 again failed to arrive at a decision on the sticky issue as army is believed to have came out openly against the move to partially revoke AFSPA from the state.
 On November 10, Omar said in Srinagar that a decision on the issue would be taken after the official panel set-up for the purpose submit their report putting the ball again in army's court.

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