Omar disagrees with army chief on special powers act

Srinagar, Jan 2 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has questioned army chief General V.K. Singh’s contention on the continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state.

In his comment posted on Twitter, Abdullah said: ‘1 summer? Is AFSPA for law and order or anti-militancy? Revoking AFSPA will aid terror groups (the army chief says).’

He was responding to the army chief stating in an interview to the Sainik Samachar armed forces journal: ‘One should not view the security situation of reduced violence in one summer but allow consolidation of the gains made before taking a call on revocing the AFSPA.’

‘Just one summer of peace does not mean normalcy,’ Singh had said in an answer to a question on why the army is opposing the partial withdrawal of the law from Jammu and Kashmir.

Despite stiff resistance from the army to his proposal for revoking the contentious AFSPA from four districts of Srinagar, Badgam, Samba and Jammu, the chief minister has stuck to his earlier decision to see off the law from the state.

Earlier, Abdullah had said he would have the AFSPA revoked from the four districts ‘within a few days’. After the army’s viewpoint was supported by the union home minister and the defence minister, the chief minister now says he will see off the law gradually.

*Abdullah’s argument is that the army does conduct counter-insurgency operations in four districts from where he wants the AFSPA lifted.