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My govt has authority to revoke AFSPA: Omar

Omar AbdullahSrinagar, November 10
After his tough talk with the Army for withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said his government had the authority to revoke the controversial law and sought a 'workable' solution from the Army.

"I have the authority. The elected state government of any state has the authority. In this case (revocation of AFSPA), the authority rests with the Governor who would act on the basis of the state government's recommendations," Omar said, renewing his bid for lifting the controversial Act.

Insisting that 'no' is not an option for him, the Chief Minister told reporters here that he had sought a "feasible and workable" solution from the Army at yesterday's Unified Command Headquarters (UHQ) meeting in Jammu.

Omar's move is facing stiff resistance from the Army. Voicing its apprehensions, the Army is understood to have cautioned that even a partial withdrawal will be detrimental to the security apparatus.

Omar said his case for partial revocation of AFSPA had been backed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. "(It) is further cemented by what the Cabinet Committee on Security has said and also what the Union Home Minister has said in recent media interviews. So I don't think it is anybody's case, least of all the Army's, that the state government does not have the authority (to revoke AFSPA)," the Chief Minister said.

Omar said the winter months provided a "window" to the state government and armed forces to go ahead with the phased revocation of AFSPA. "Sooner the better, because winter is normally a phase where militancy is at a low and that obviously gives us a window to consolidate and reorient our deployments and to see how this phased withdrawal is working," he said.

About the UHQ meeting, Omar said he had demanded that the recommendations compiled by the Army's two committees, headed separately by General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps and General Officer Commanding of Nagrota-based 16 Corps, should be made available.

"I have said (in a meeting with the Army) ‘no’ is not an option. So other than ‘no’ as an option, you give me other options that are feasible and workable and that is what I want those committees to examine," Omar said.

The CM said the Army had given a detailed presentation at the UHQ meeting yesterday and had expressed their point of view. "They wanted further discussions with me. I have instructed that since the two committees have already been set up to finalise the recommendations, I would rather (want) those committees make their recommendations known before further discussions," he said. — PTI





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