Let police, CRPF handle security in peaceful areas of state: Omar

Asserting that the situation in some parts of J&K was conducive for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said time had come that law and order in such areas be left to the state police and paramilitary forces like the CRPF.

Interacting with the media at the Press Club of India, he also rebutted suggestions that if AFSPA was lifted from any part of the militancy-hit state, it could leave the field open for militants to operate. "First and foremost I never advocated lifting it from areas close to the LoC or so. I suggested that it could be lifted from areas like Srinagar and Jammu... On the one hand you say you have faith in state police and CRPF and in the same breath you say that AFSPA should remain," he said.

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

Asked why his party had failed to deliver on the election promises of withdrawal of AFSPA and autonomy for the state, he said, "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.... At least I am not building castles in the air...," he said.

Saying that he was in favour of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which should be allowed to probe in the state as well as in PoK, Omar said, "...because there are far too many questions which require answers and those won't be available in the Valley only. Take for example of disappearances. How could you make an example or assumptions that all those people who have disappeared have been killed by the security forces. What about the people killed by the militants? What about those who went across (PoK) and died while trying to come back or infiltrate? What about those who went to training camps?"

... contd.

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