Cong, NC spar over Omar move to revoke AFSPA in J&K

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 19:04 hrs

Srinagar: Ruling coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday sparred over Omar Abdullah's move to revoke AFSPA in some areas of the state with Congress's Saif-ud-din Soz alleging he is not consulting all stakeholders including the Army and the Chief Minister responding they are kept in the loop.

In a crisp response to Soz's charge, the National Conference leader also said he is well aware of his "responsibilities", asserting that he would not have made the move in "isolation."

Amid a raging debate over the move to lift the controversial Armed Force Special Power Act (AFSPA) in some parts of the border state, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in New Delhi. There was no official word whether this issue came up for discussion.

Soz, the J and K Pradesh Congress chief, said the Chief Minister was trying to score a political "goal" by revoking AFSPA from some areas and not taking anyone on board.

"I have no grouse at not being consulted by the Chief Minister. He could have even sought my opinion over phone... However, the main players like Union Home Ministry, Defence Ministry, Congress party and Army should be taken on board on the issue. It does not seem to be the case at the moment," Soz said in Srinagar.

Referring to allegations of lack of consultation with Congress, which is a junior partner in the state government, Soz said it seems that Omar wants to "score a goal by himself but that is not how the game is played".

Refuting the charge, Omar said consultations at various levels with Army have taken place and continues to take place. "Formal discussion in the Unified Command, of which the Deputy Chief Minister (Tara Chand of Congress) is also a member, has also taken place from time to time," he said.

"As Chief Minister,I am well aware of my responsibilities of consultation and carrying my alliance partners with me," Omar responded.

The J and K government is pushing for revocation of the military law while the Army has been insisting on it to effectively deal with militancy in the border state.

In New Delhi, Army Chief General V K Singh said his force has given its inputs on the issue but refused to specify those, saying the matter was under the purview of the Home Ministry.

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