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Omar returns to Srinagar, chairs cabinet meet

By Onkar Singh
Last updated on: September 14, 2010 14:09 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah convened a crucial cabinet meet at the civil secretariat in Srinagar on Tuesday afternoon to find a way out of the impasse in Kashmir.

The CM recently met Home Minister P Chidambaram and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi to discuss the crisis that has engulfed the valley since the last three months.

Kashmir has been caught in a vicious circle of violent protests and death of protestors in firing by security forces.

Earlier, Abdullah's aides clarified that the CM had not threatened to resign over the repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state.

Reacting to a report -- that quoted sources as saying that Abdullah had threatened to resign over the all-party meeting on Kashmir on Wednesday -- the CM's office got in touch with this correspondent.

"There is no truth in the stories carried about the chief minister's alleged threat to resign. He is not shying away from his responsibilities. Yes, he is waiting for the return of (National Conference chief) Farooq Abdullah from South Africa in the next few days so that the party could discuss the ground level situation in the valley and how to cope with the growing menace of terrorists. Omar sahib has called an urgent meeting of the core group comprising senior ministers to discuss the situation on Tuesday," said a close aide of Abdullah.

When queried why the chief minister had told journalists from some national dailies on Monday night that he is considering giving in his resignation, the aide said, "The question can be best answered by the chief minister."

Abdullah was reportedly upset with the fact that the Cabinet Committee on Security, which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday evening, didn't take a decision on the repealing of AFSPA. Instead of rejecting or accepting the demands made by Abdullah, the Centre has decided to call an all party meeting on Wednesday.

In the most violent day in Kashmir since the unrest started three months ago, 17 people were killed and 80 injured in protests on Monday.

Onkar Singh In New Delhi