Omar: AFSPA will be revoked during my term
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Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday hoped the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would be revoked from Jammu and Kashmir during his tenure.
He, however, regretted that discussions with the Centre and the Army on the issue were going on at a slow pace. "I regret to say pace of the dialogue is very slow. Recently, I discussed the matter with the Defence Minister and the top brass of Indian Army. The issue is alive, but the pace is slow," Omar said in his Independence Day address.
He said there are several reasons for the slow pace of discussions but "I don't want to go in those details". "I can say with surety that revocation of AFSPA will take place during my tenure," he added.
Omar urged the separatist leaders to utilise the prevailing "favourable atmosphere" to come forward and discuss their viewpoint. "The Kashmir issue has political genesis and it requires political methodology for effective addressing through a sustained dialogue process. Let you come forward and talk for achieving a breakthrough on the table, which guns could not deliver in 20 years," he said. "Dialogue is the only way forward to address the issue effectively and meaningfully... I once again underline the need for political addressing of this issue."
Omar said violence in the state has dipped and cited statistics to back his claim: 2012 saw 90 incidents of violence as against 190 in 2011 and 370 in 2010; civilian killings declined from 50 in 2010 to 8 in 2012 and of security men from 70 to 7. "This peaceful situation has helped fast track development in the state," he said, adding that he was committed to take the peace dividend to every household.
The valley saw unprecedented three-tier security arrangements for the Independence Day. For the first time, drones were used for surveillance at the venue of the main parade at Bakshi Stadium. Mobile and internet services were also jammed.
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