Centre doesn't want to keep military in Kashmir for long: Sushilkumar Shinde

Sushilkumar Shinde

The Centre does not want to keep the military in Kashmir "for long" but a decision on removing the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be taken only after some time, says Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

He also wants to meet separatists in the state including the Hurriyat conference leaders "to understand what they really want".

"Certainly security should be reduced, but this is not the proper time. We will still have to watch for some time," Shinde said.

The Minister, who visited Jammu and Kashmir last month after taking over the Home portfolio in July, was asked about reducing the footprints of the security forces.

He said the security situation in the state has improved hinted the recent attacks in Srinagar and outskirts of Jammu city were proving to be a spanner in moves to reduce the strength of security forces.

"But see we had some information even today also, the recent incidents of attack on the hotel and the wine bar...these are sundry incidents but still we have to be very careful as for us its a case of once bitter twice shy," he said.

When asked whether there was anything wrong in the partial withdrawal of AFSPA in light of the fact that countries like the UK, Germany and Japan had revised their travel advisory for their nationals to travel to the state, Shinde said "there is nothing wrong in doing this."

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has flagged the issue of partial withdrawal of AFSPA from parts of the state which include Srinagar and parts of Budgam in Kashmir region and Jammu and Sambha districts in Jammu region.

On the dialogue process, Shinde expressed his willingness to meet separatists of the state including Hurriyat Conference saying "what's the harm in that. They also live in India and some of them were MLAs also. I want to understand what they really want."

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