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Omar meets PM, Chidambaram on AFSPA; talks inconclusive

Monday November 14, 2011 09:14:16 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Steadfast over the demand for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from his state, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sounded positive after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram here Monday, saying the two leaders were "receptive" to his idea.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who met the chief minister here Sunday on the issue, said his talks were "inconclusive" and called for a "matured and cool" handling of the "sensitive" issue of AFSPA withdrawal.

The Indian Army has said it would be difficult to fight insurgency in those parts of the state from where the law that provides it sweeping powers is withdrawn.

Emerging out of Chidambaram's office in North Block here earlier in the day, Abdullah said: "Partial withdrawal was one of the number of issues I discussed with the home minister."

The chief minister said he was in the process of meeting members of the cabinet committee on security.

"I met the PM, the home minister," he said, adding: "I have made my point clear. This is an ongoing process. The PM and the home minister were receptive."

On Sunday, the chief minister met Defence Minister A.K. Antony at his residence here to discuss the proposal that has been strongly opposed by the army.

Antony, asked about the meeting, said he held a "very frank and very friendly" discussion on the AFSPA issue with Abdullah, but the talks were "inconclusive."

"Discussions will continue. Inside the government also, we are continuing the discussion. That's all," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a defence event.

Asked if a decision will come within this week on the matter, his curt response was "don't put any time limits".

Antony said he had already expressed his opinion on the issue many times. "This being a very, very sensitive issue, let us handle it in a very, very matured and cool manner. I do not want to enter into a public controversy or public debate on this very sensitive issue," he added.

On the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the defence minister said it was "much better" now. "But considering the attempts at infiltration from across the border continuing, we have to be careful 24X7," he added.

Abdullah said his meetings since Sunday were his first round of discussion with the prime minister and his four big ministers in the cabinet.

He stressed the meetings were to "narrow differences with what we want to happen and what the army has publicly stated".

Asked about militants daring the government to remove the act, the chief minister said they would not want it to happen.

"We are talking about those areas where there is no army. Let them do whatever they want. They don't want the act to be removed. They are threatening you," he said.

Kashmir's main ruling party, the National Conference, Abdullah himself, and the principal opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) favour the revocation of AFSPA from parts of the state.

However, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Congress, has said "sufficient consultations" were not held before Abdullah proposed the idea a few weeks ago.

The union home ministry is also believed to be in favour of partial lifting of the AFSPA.



 
 



 

 

 

 

 

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More than 2.5mn people from all across the world have gathered in Makkah for Haj which starts November 05, 2011 this year. Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam is a religious journey to the House of Allah in Makkah. This is in response to the call of Prophet Abraham when Allah commanded him to call mankind to perform Haj. Haj is the largest gathering of Muslims as about three million Muslims from all over the world meet to worship their Lord. All barriers including language, color, class and race are broken.

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