Omar, Mehbooba dismiss Shah’s AFSPA assurance as ‘poll gimmick’ : The Tribune India

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Omar, Mehbooba dismiss Shah’s AFSPA assurance as ‘poll gimmick’

Omar, Mehbooba dismiss Shah’s AFSPA assurance as ‘poll gimmick’

Omar Abdullah (left) and Mehbooba Mufti. File photo



Our Correspondent

Srinagar, March 27

Reacting to Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that the Centre was contemplating revoking the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dismissed the Union Minister’s assurance as a false promise made before elections. He compared it with the unfulfilled Sixth Schedule pledge made to the people of Ladakh by the BJP.

In a similar vein, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti urged the government to translate its words into action, by starting with the release of journalists and numerous young Kashmiri detainees held without charges or prosecution.

“When the government claims that the situation is entirely normal, that there is no separatist sentiment, and that Kashmir has never been as tranquil as it is today, then why delay? They should have removed AFSPA earlier,” NC vice-president Omar Abdullah said while talking to mediapersons in Budgam.

“Since 2011, I have been waiting for a day when AFSPA will be removed. We have relentlessly campaigned for its repeal and made concerted efforts at every level,” Omar said. He added that he feared that the way the people of Ladakh were betrayed, misled and given false assurances about the implementation of the Sixth Schedule in the region, the same way the people of Jammu and Kashmir were being subjected to false assurances regarding the removal of AFSPA. “It is a move to deceive people as the polling comes nearer,” the former CM said.

Mehbooba said her party had consistently demanded the revocation of draconian AFSPA, along with a gradual removal of troops. “It also formulated an important part of our Agenda of Alliance, wholeheartedly agreed upon by the BJP,” she said.

“Better late than never but only if it isn’t jumlebaazi like generating two crore jobs every year or empty promises of depositing Rs 15 lakh into bank accounts. One can only hope that they fulfil their commitment at least in this case since it would bring a huge relief to the people of J&K,” she said.

“To walk the talk, the MHA can perhaps start by releasing journalists and thousands of young Kashmiri boys currently languishing in jails without any charges or prosecution,” Mehbooba said.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir on September 10, 1990, following a notification issued by the state government, declaring the Kashmir Valley as a disturbed area under Section 3 of the law. Subsequently, on August 10, 2001, the erstwhile state government extended the provision of a disturbed area to the Jammu province. AFSPA comes into effect once an area is declared disturbed under the act. However, the AFSPA does not apply to the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir as Ladakh has never been notified as disturbed under the law.

During his six-year tenure from 2009 to 2014, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah consistently advocated for the gradual withdrawal of AFSPA from “peaceful areas” of J&K. In 2011, Omar expressed confidence that the day when AFSPA would be withdrawn from the state was not far, asserting that it would happen during his government’s tenure.

Release detained journos

To walk the talk, the MHA can start by releasing journalists and thousands of young Kashmiri boys currently languishing in jails without any charges or prosecution. — Mehbooba Mufti, PDP chief

Should’ve been done earlier

When the government claims that the situation is entirely normal and that Kashmir has never been as tranquil as it is today, then why delay? They should have removed AFSPA earlier. — Omar Abdullah, NC leader

#Amit Shah #Jammu #Kashmir #Omar Abdullah #Srinagar


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