Omar for denotifying disturbed areas in Kashmir

December 2nd, 2011 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Jammu, Dec 2 (IANS) Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is set to recommend denotification of some parts of Jammu and Kashmir declared as disturbed areas and if accepted by the governor will pave the way for removing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from those places, highly placed government sources said Friday.

Sources said Abdullah wants to denotify four districts — Srinagar, Budgam, Jammu and Samba — from the Disturbed Areas Act. This would automatically mean that armed forces would not have any powers under the AFSPA to operate in these areas.

AFSPA is applicable only in places notified as disturbed areas.

Sources say the chief minister is “immovable” on the issue.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi Thursday, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said: “The decision to denotify areas from Disturbed Areas Act would be taken by the governor on the advice of the state government.”

“At the moment, what the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister wishes to be done is to denotify areas which had been originally notified as disturbed areas. That is his effort now. That, as I said earlier, is in accordance to the Cabinet Committee on Security decision which requested him to review the matter in the Unified HQs,”

Kashmir’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the separatists and Kashmir Bar Association have asked Abdullah to live upto his promise that he made on Oct 21 when he declared that AFSPA would go within days.

But the reservations of the Indian Army, which fears that terrorists would take advantage of the absence of the empowering laws to the armed forces, has kept the matter pending.

The chief minister has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Chidambaram and Army chief V.K. Singh to put across his point.

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