Jammu, Feb 19 (IANS) Faced with an ever increasing criticism from its main political rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling National Conference Saturday declared that it would get the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act [AFSPA] revoked in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The AFSPA will be revoked in a manner that its withdrawal doesn’t cause any major security fallout,” National Conference president Farooq Abdullah told reporters at the conclusion of the party’s Central Working Committee meeting here.
The meeting lasted for more than four hours, and major topics of discussion included the panchayat elections in the state, unemployment and repeal of the AFSPA in the state.
The National Conference is often taunted by the main opposition PDP for not revoking the AFSPA in the state.
“The decision has to be taken by taking all aspects into consideration, including its implications on the security situation in the state,” said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who was also present at the press conference.
The AFSPA, enforced in some northeastern states, apart from Kashmir, grants the military wide powers to arrest, to shoot to kill and to occupy or destroy property in counter-insurgency operations with immunity from law.
National Conference leaders said they were committed to holding panchayat elections in the state.
Regarding unemployment, it was decided that the party would approach the central government for a package. There are more than half-a-million unemployed people in Jammu and Kashmir.
The two leaders also stated in unison that they would further strengthen the coalition government in the state.
The National Conference is ruling the state in alliance with Congress.