Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday rued the delay in the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state, saying the “goalpost” is shifted each time when the contentious issue is raised.
Omar also sarcastically said “some people” will never find the time appropriate for withdrawal of AFSPA as they have a “liking” for these laws. “It is an ongoing discussion with the Centre. First, it was with the United Progressive Alliance and now the National Democratic Alliance government,” he said, adding, “Some people will never find the time appropriate because they have so much liking and love for these laws.”
“Even if we make 100 per cent of the guns here silent, they will still find excuses and say time is not appropriate,” Omar said.
The CM said he did not know what parameters the Centre wants for the appropriate time. “If they let us know the parameters to determine the appropriate time, then we will try to achieve those parameters,” he said.
“But whenever we tell them that the time is appropriate, they say not this year but next year. And then the next year, they increase the goal post. I hope that their thinking changes and the process (of revocation of AFSPA) is started,” he added.
On the controversy over a Shiv Sena member of Parliament allegedly force-feeding a Muslim employee in the New Maharashtra Sadan at New Delhi, Omar said it was “goondaism”. “Either they knew he (the employee) was a Muslim and then it is more shameful. Even if they did not know, the goondaism by members of Parliament is not a good thing. We should set an example by our behaviour after winning elections. And if we are setting this example to the people of the country, then I feel it is very shameful,” he said, adding, “I am ready to go to the extent that they did not know he was a Muslim, but even then the act cannot be overlooked because we do not expect such goondaism from an MP,” he said.
Asked about the upcoming Assembly polls in the state, Abdullah said he considers 1996 state elections as the “toughest” in the history of the state. “No. Why?” he quipped when asked whether the upcoming polls are the toughest in the history of the state.
“There is a huge difference between the militancy of that time and the militancy now. Perhaps, this election may be politically difficult for some, but as regards to administration and security, I feel 1996 polls were most difficult for us,” he said.
Image: Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah