Jammu, Feb 19: Rejecting any difference with the Centre on the issue of revoking Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said the decision to withdraw DAA lay with the state government.
"I don't require anybody's recommendation. Please understand at the end of the day Army is tool of Central government," Omar told reporters when asked whether his government needed recommendation from the Centre to revoke the draconian laws.
"Therefore it is important, in any situation particularly where the security of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, to take them (Army) along," Chief Minister said at a press conference here. Omar said he was not suggesting that the power of veto was with anybody else. "The decision to revoke DAA ultimately is the state government's," he said.
"But it is important that this should be done in consultation and discussion with the Central government," he said, adding, "There is no fight or difference with the Centre on the issue."
"The state and the Central governments are on the same page and both believe that this is an opportune time to start reviewing the process and gradually roll back," Omar said, maintaining that nobody is saying it will be done overnight.
On the opposition by Defence Minister A K Antony to revoke AFSPA from the state, Omar said, "It is important to understand that what is happening is as per the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee of Security, which made eight suggestions, including review of the DAA. Antony is a member of CCS, that made the recommendations on the basis of which these committees have been setup to examine the DAA," he said.
The Chief Minister said there was no difference with the Centre on the issue. "The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been very keen on starting the process of rolling back those laws that are not required at places where militancy is much less than it used to be in the past," he said.
"Fortunately, the Centre is thinking on the same line. We have absolute support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Union Home Minister and the Defence Minister," Omar said. On the two groups set up over DAA, he said greater discussion was needed as it involved identifying the areas and working out the modalities, besides the security structure that has to be put in place after removal of DAA, the Chief Minister said.
ON EGYPT EFFECT
Referring to the recent public revolt in Egypt and calls by some political groups and individuals to replicate same in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister said the power to replace the chief minister in the state lies with the people and right has been guaranteed in the constitution.
"For what happened in Egypt and what some mainstream political parties are talking about are two completely different things", he said adding the people of the Valley are sensible enough to understand that the change of state government can be made through peaceful and democratic means. "They understand that change of government in the state is enshrined in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir through a democratic system, which can be done by the people by exercising franchise on the strength of the ballot after every six years."
On alleged land grabbing, the Chief Minister said that the government has taken due note of the report and he has given categorical directions to the vigilance organization to book any one whosoever he may be if the evidence against him is sound and solid.
ON HANDWARA KILLING
Responding to the question on the Handwara incident he said; "We hope incidents like this will be avoided in future. The incident at Handwara has created a sort of re-think in certain quarters as to how we should go about the issue of ambushes, particularly in the civilian areas,"