Gradual revocation of AFSPA to start in my current tenure: Omar

Omar Abdullah about afspaChief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir – Omar Abdullah – on Saturday said that gradual revocation of controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act will begin in his current tenure for which he will continue to work.

Omar said that the graph of militancy related incidents in the State has come down by over seventy percent during his current tenure adding that revocation of AFSPA would be an indication of peace.

The Chief Minister said that many buildings including schools and hospitals were vacated from the occupation of security forces during his tenure. These, according to him, include 37 hospitals, 33 hotels, 30 industrial, and all schools. Omar also talked about removing of 54 bunkers in Srinagar.

The Chief Minister announced that government will examine the guidelines under which relatives of deceased militants and surrendered militants are given no objection for passports maintaining that ten years and twelve years moratorium kept in the guidelines to provide passports to the relatives of the deceased and surrendered militants respectively will be reduced to a greater extent so that they could get the passports as early as possible.

Omar Abdullah also rejected the criticism of Rehabilitation Policy and asked its critics that ‘when there could be a surrender policy for active militants, implemented during the period of NDA, why can’t there be a policy for those who have crossed LoC and want to return back without any gun and live a peaceful life’. He said so far 308 persons have returned to the State under this policy along with their families and are living peacefully.

On Pathribal issue the Chief Minister said that it will not be allowed to be ‘travesty of justice’. He said five innocents have been killed and who killed them has to be found out and justice given to the bereaved. “I have taken up this issue with the Prime Minister and he has assured me that he would discuss it with the Defense Minister”, he said adding that while ‘we’ are not satisfied with the armed forces action about Pathribal, ‘we’ appreciate the Army for instituting Court Marshal in the Machil incident.

On relocation of Tosha Madain firing range, the Chief Minister said that the matter stands discussed in the Civil Military Liaison Conference and Committee headed by the Chief Secretary has been constituted to identify the alternate site for firing range so that Tosha Madian is opened for tourists and tourism related activities.

Regarding 2010 stone pelting incidents, the Chief Minster said that almost all cases have been withdrawn against those who were not involved in serious crimes. He said FIRs for each case of firing has been registered, charge sheets framed and presented in the judiciary for final verdict. He said that nobody wants juveniles to be arrested and put in juvenile homes. He added that parents have an important role in this regard to control their wards and keep them away from unlawful activities like stone pelting.

Omar Abdullah said that sometimes restrictions are necessary to be imposed to safeguard the life and property of the people as such his government has does it in view of maintaining calm because certain people are always in search of putting fuel to the fire and disturb situation. He said that it has been seen how people tried to transfer Kishtwar incident to the Kashmir and other parts of Jammu. He said had his government imposed restriction in 2010 after the incident of Tufail Mottoo so that the loss of precious lives could have been saved.

On use of non-lethal weapons, the Chief Minister said that his government never wants to use pellets or teargas shells. He said such incidents are deeply painful for him. “You can’t believe under which pain I go through when I am told about such incidents”, he said adding that while he will not hesitate to dismiss and punish the police personnel found responsible for use of excessive force he wants to appeal the parents of the youth to keep them away from indulging in unlawful activities like stone pelting as stone pelting is not answer to any problem.