Governor N.N. Vohra will have a final say in deciding whether
special powers to the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir are to be
revoked from some areas and when, say highly placed official
The centre will wait for the governor's word primarily because of
two reasons - the union defence and home ministries have different
perceptions, while within the state, the army and the state
government have diametrically opposite views on the issue, the
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the union home ministry are for
revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which
has been in force for more than 21 years, from some areas to begin
But the army and defence ministry are wary of rushing into any
such major decision which, according to them, runs the risk of
reversal of gains made during anti-insurgency operations for two
Abdullah triggered a fresh debate when he announced at a police
function in Srinagar last Friday that AFSPA will be "lifted from
some areas within days". He reiterated that the time has come to
make a beginning on the issue.
With the defence ministry and the army offering stiff resistance
to the move, despite agreeing that the situation has improved,
confrontation is building up on the lifting of AFSPA that was
invoked in Kashmir Valley in 1990 and in the entire state (barring
the two districts of Leh and Kargil) in August 2001.
As Vohra was holding key positions in the central government in
the 1990s and subsequently had studied the Kashmir situation as
the central interlocutor from 2003 till his appointment as
governor in 2008, he is "aware" of the ground realities and
perspectives, the sources said.
His assessment of the situation would be a determining factor, as
the army, central government officers and the state government
look upon him for sound advice on the issue, the sources said.
Even cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth and Northern Command chief
of the army, Lt.Gen. K.T. Parnaik, had a detailed discussion with
"His report would be a deciding factor," a source said.