October 29th, 2011
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AFSPA decision deferred

omar-abdullaSrinagar: The decision regarding the need to revoke the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been deferred by the state government. The state cabinet will meet after November 10 in Jammu where the views of the Army regarding the removal of AFSPA would be taken into account. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that the issue had already been slated for a formal discussion on November 7 or 8 in Jammu once offices opened.

Mr Abdullah had, at a public function on November 21, said that AFSPA would be removed from some areas in Kashmir over the next few days. A stumped Defence Ministry as also the Army  opposed to the move. Mr Abdullah later hit a reconciliatory tone, saying that the removal of the AFSPA was “not an effort to undermine the role of the Army”. In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said, “it is nobody’s case to demonize the Army because the Army has proved time and again that it is a disciplined force.”

The opposition to lifting of AFSPA stems from concerns of the Army, which is based on intelligence inputs and intercepts that it has received in the last 2-3 months. According to its estimates that have been verified by other agencies, around 2,500 militants are present in 42 training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (Pok). Of these, 800 are poised to cross over to India. Around thirty odd militants have been killed along the Line of Control (LoC) in the last two months while attempting to cross over. Sources further say that intercepts indicate that infiltration attempts are likely to continue even during the winter months – a period when infiltration figures, otherwise, come down considerably.


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