Kashmir officials to visit Delhi on AFSPA

Kashmir officials to visit Delhi on AFSPA

The team would be going to Delhi after the conclusion of the visit of President Pratibha Patil, who is visiting Jammu for two days Nov 25-26. "The state government officials would be holding discussions with a panel of the central government on the issue of revocation of AFSPA and try to find out a middle ground with the army to lift the law from some of the areas of Jammu and Kashmir," a top official told IANS Sunday.

He also disclosed that the army would be involved, both at the local level as also at the level of army headquarters, to iron out differences. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is insistent on the removal of AFSPA - that gives the armed forces sweeping powers - from at least four districts of the state. The army has not been operating in these areas for long, Abdullah contends.

The army had voiced its reservations over the political move of the chief minister  citing internal and external security concerns which have deepened because of the relentless attempts by the terrorists to sneak into the Indian side from across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan and the increasing activity of the secessionists within the Valley with Pakistan's support.

Internationally, the increasing clout of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) that wants right to self-determination for the people of Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir, proposed withdrawal of US soldiers from Afghanistan and Pakistan's repeated history of diverting terrorists from Afghanistan to India, also figured in army's list of apprehensions.

On Saturday, the chief minister had told media here that "army's concerns would be addressed".