Amid renewed demands for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, National Conference's alliance partner Congress on Wednesday said the time was not right for it and rejected the contention that the central government was being blackmailed by army on this.
"AFSPA was not brought in by the army and rather by the political executive of the state and considering all the opinions and reading on the ground, the government would take decision as and when required," party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit told reporters.
He insisted that Congress stand is clear that it is for the government to decide and we should leave it at that. "Our hands are tied and that doesn't mean that the government is being blackmailed by the army," he said.
Asked about J-K Congress leader Saifuddin Soz pleading for the repeal of AFSPA from the Valley and whether this is the party's viewpoint, Dikshit said, "This is his view and that there have always been demands about withdrawing of AFSPA and it is being considered by the government."
He said that armed forces and other authorities who are directly connected with dealing with issues of J&K have said that this is not the right time to repeal AFSPA and "we stand by that".
On the question whether army is making it difficult for Omar, Dikshit said that he wouldn't want to comment on what inspired the chief minister to become emotional.
He said that there are issues in J&K and there is greater presence of paramilitary forces in the state and nobody recognises the fact that more number of paramilitary forces are required in the state.
"However, on the other hand and there might be chances that certain paramilitary forces may be doing something that may not be politically tenable for them."
He noted that J-K is gradually moving towards greater peace. "The fact is that J&K (now) is a much more different and integrated state of the Union of India and we should all welcome that," he said.