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Time to believe in police, paramilitary forces: Omar

December 21, 2012 18:37 IST
Pushing for partial withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday discounted suggestions that this will benefit terrorists, saying it is time to believe in the state police and paramilitary forces.

"When I advocate withdrawal of AFSPA it does not mean that I am asking for the Army to be removed from troubled places like Spore, Handwara, Baramula etc. but places in and around Srinagar where Central Reserve Police Force and Jammu Kashmir police are doing an effective job the places. The army can be removed from these places because they are merely camping there and the work at the ground level is being done by other security agencies," the chief minister told

"Let them (Army) say that they have no confidence in the CRPF and the Jammu and Kashmir police, I will sit down and not utter a word if they do so," said Omar Abdullah.

"I have written to the Union home ministry about relaxation of the inner line permit in Ladakh region of the state on the lines of a relaxation in the Northeastern states," he said.

Omar conceded that Kashmiri Pandits could move back to the state only when they feel that the conditions are conducive for their return. "The pandits moved away from the valley when they felt that there was threat to their lives and they are no longer safe. In the last few years the law and order has become better. Now they can move back to their roots. We have given employment to a large number of Kashmiri Pandits creating a sense of confidence amongst them."

He refused to react to criticism of his administration and corruption levelled by Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti. "I do not react to her as the people will give her a fitting answer.

The chief minister said the situation in the state had improved over the last 10 years and the level of violence had come down to five per cent of what it was in 2002.

"I believe the CRPF and JK police have acquired the ability to deal with the situation in areas where we could dispense with any sort of Army involvement and these are the sort of areas from where we are asking for removal of AFSPA...

"So if you don't need to operate, therefore, the need for AFSPA should also no longer exist as well," he said.

On why there has been no progress on the AFSPA issue, he said, "We have not been successful but this does not mean that we should not try. We are trying and I know for sure that something positive will emerge."

Omar said it was unfortunate that his government was closely scrutinised on AFSPA. "I am trying and doing my best. I wonder why you people (media) don't talk about the failures of my predecessor about self-rule, dual currency and demilitarisation or for that matter the so-called independence slogan of separatists.

"Judge me when you question everyone. At least I am not building castles in the air like others have done. I am doing something and promising something which is possible," he said.

Asked about unmarked graves issue, Omar said that his government's stand was absolutely clear that those talking about disappearances should come with a DNA sample to a nodal officer posted in state Human Rights Commission.

"Should a kith and kin of someone believes that one of their people is buried in those unmarked graves they should supply us with DNA sample and we would again do DNA profile of the missing people with the unmarked graves.

"We gave an open offer for this. But unfortunately no one has yet come forward to take up our claim on this," he said.

The chief minister said that J-K required a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which should be allowed to probe in the state as well as in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

"...because there are far too many questions which require answers and those won't be available in the Valley only. Take for example the instance of disappearances. How could you make an example or assumptions that all those people who have been disappeared have been killed by the security forces.

"What about the people killed by the militants. What about those who went across (PoK) and dies while trying to come back or infiltrate. What about those who went to training camps," he said.

He was taken aback when asked why he was paying former Indian cricketer  Bishan Singh Bedi for coaching cricketers on the phone. "That is not true. When I went to meet young cricketers on the ground on a couple of occasions he was present. It is wrong to say that he is being paid for coaching cricketers on the phone," he said. 

With inputs from PTI

Onkar Singh in New Delhi