AFSPA: It is time to believe in state police and paramilitary forces says Omar Abdullah

Pushing for partial withdrawal of controversial AFSPA, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today discounted suggestions that this will benefit terrorists, saying it is time to believe in the state police and paramilitary forces.

"First and foremost I never advocated lifting it from areas close to the Line of Control or so. I have suggested that it could be lifted from areas like Srinagar and Jammu cities," Omar said while interacting with mediapersons here at a programme hosted by the Press Club of India.

He was asked about apprehensions that the areas, where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act will be withdrawn, would become a safe haven for terrorists.

"On the one hand you say that you have faith in state police and CRPF and in the same breath you say that AFSPA should remain," he contended.

The Chief Minister said the situation in the state had improved over the last 10 years and the level of violence had come down to five per cent of what it was in 2002.

"I believe the CRPF and JK police have acquired the ability to deal with the situation in areas where we could dispense with any sort of Army involvement and these are the sort of areas from where we are asking for removal of AFSPA...

"So if you don't need to operate, therefore, the need for AFSPA should also no longer exist as well," he said.

On why there has been no progress on the AFSPA issue, he said, "We have not been successful but this does not mean that we should not try. We are trying and I know for sure that something positive will emerge."

Omar said it was unfortunate that his government was closely scrutinised on AFSPA. "I am trying and doing my best. I wonder why you people (media) don't talk about the failures of my predecessor about self-rule, dual currency and demilitarisation or for that matter the so-called independence slogan of separatists.

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