Omar promises curbs on army powers in J&K

February 26, 2009 news service

In his maiden address of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly as Chief Minister on Thursday, a belligerent Omar Abdullah vowed to endeavour for the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act in the state. Abdullah said his government was working towards creating an environment conducive to introduce the measure.

Abdullah, who took over a chief minister at the helm of a NC-Congress alliance in January, said: “My government is creating the conditions conducive for the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state.”

“If the situation continues to improve the way it has been improving, the coalition government would work towards withdrawal of laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and disturbed areas act,” said Abdullah, in response to an adjournment motion moved by opposition PDP in protest of continued rights violations in the state.

Taking the fight into the Opposition camp, Omar accused the PDP of creating unrest among people by implicating Army personnel in the recent murder cases.

The PDP based the adjournment motion on the killing of two youths in Sopore town of Baramulla on Saturday and of an auto-driver Shabir Ahmad Sheikh, a cousin of JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and brother of senior executive member of JKLF Mehraj-ud-Din, on Tuesday.

Later in the day, the Army has opposed Omar’s suggestions of revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state and said the move would be “regressive” and detrimental to the security of the valley and would provide a boost to the terrorists.

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