Omar hopes those opposing revocation of AFSPA will see reason

Omar hopes those opposing revocation of AFSPA will see reasonSRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said those opposing the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state will come around as the situation has improved significantly over the past six years.

“Those who oppose revocation of the AFSPA will see reason as the situation has improved in the state,” he said in his Independence Day speech at Bakshi Stadium here.

The Chief Minister said he has been questioned about raising the AFSPA issue time and again when he has not been able to convince the Centre on its revocation.

“Failure should not stop us from trying. We might fail once and twice but when we keep trying, we will succeed,” he said.

Omar made a special reference to the improvement security situation in the state during the last more than five and a half years, saying that there has been 80 per cent reduction in militancy-related incidents.

He said all schools and hospitals have been vacated from occupation of security forces.

Omar said 1000 private buildings, 300 government buildings, 40 hotels and 30 industrial units have also been cleared from the occupation of security forces.

On the rehabilitation policy for those youth who had gone to Pakistan or PoK for arms training but renounced violence, he said 350 youth have returned under this policy so far.

“Although there are designated routes for return, once they reached home we have helped them in rehabilitation,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the passport policy has been made people-friendly and no objection certificates have been issued to three lakh applications.

Omar said 1850 youth have been benefited under the Amnesty Policy for those involved in law and order cases.

He said warrants under Public Safety Act have been brought down by 40 per cent in the last about six years from 2500 in 2008 to 1420 by now. Omar said the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan had been cited to oppose revocation of AFSPA, though there was “no evidence” that it has had any effect on the ground situation in the state.

“A lot of people have used year 2014 as an excuse not to make progress on this (AFSPA). They have used the situation in Afghanistan saying the situation in Jammu and Kashmir will deteriorate,” he told reporters here.

He said, however, there was no evidence that the impending pull out of the US troops from Afghanistan had any effect on the security situation in the state.

“We have seen no evidence of that on the ground. None, whatsoever!”, the chief minister added.

Omar said in view of the declining militancy in the state, he would forcefully take up revocation of the AFSPA from the state next year once the US pull out is complete.

“In fact, the militancy continues to decline in Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, I am hopeful that in 2015 when the bogey of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is removed, I will be able to more forcefully press this issue of AFSPA revocation,” he said.

The Chief Minister said he has taken up the AFSPA issue with the new government at the Centre.

“I have taken up this issue with the new government. I had detailed discussions when (Defense Minister) Arun Jaitley was here,” he said.

On the delay in work on expansion of Jammu airport, Omar said Army was creating hurdles by linking the transfer of land for airport with resolution of all land issues related with the army.

“Army is stalling expansion of Jammu airport by bring in firing range and other land lease issues. They say that they will hand over the land near the airport only after other issues are resolved,” he said.

Omar said the state government wanted to deal with each issue as and when it came up.–PTI