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AFSPA can be withdrawn in four J&K districts: Dilip Padgaonkar

November 16, 2011 14:55 IST

Though it is not appropriate to say that the law and order situation in J&K has stabilised based on one good tourist season, the development should not be ignored, says Dilip Padgaonkar. Onkar Singh reports.

Dilip Padgaonkar, one of the three Centre-appointed interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, believes that the state government can take a decision to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Power's Act from those districts where no terrorist incident has taken place in the last few years.

Speaking to from his residence in Pune, the former editor of a leading national daily said that in at least four districts of J&K the army has not carried out any operation. These are Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur. AFSPA has not been implemented in Leh and Kargil districts of the state.

"I feel that such things should not be discussed in open as is being done in the last two weeks. The decision should be based on assessment and inputs provided by intelligence agencies, army and the local police. The state government is entitled to take a decision on this issue," Padgaonkar said.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and discussed with them withdrawal of the act. He would discuss the outcome during a Cabinet meeting in Jammu in the next few days.

Padgaonkar said that while it would not be appropriate to say that the law and order situation has stabilised based on one good tourist season, he said that we should not ignore the development.

"I hope the tourist season in the valley next year would be even better than this year," Padgaonkar said.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi