CCS fails to take decision on Kashmir situation, calls for all party meet

Written by: Nairita Das
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New Delhi, Sep.13 (ANI): The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today could not take any decision on Kashmir situation or withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of the valley, but decided to convene an all-party meet on Wednesday (Sep.15).

The meet also appealed to the people of Kashmir valley not to take to violence.

Presided over by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the national capital, today's CCS meet lasted for three hours during which the issue of turbulent situation in Kashmir, AFSPA, and a package for Jammu and Kashmir were discussed at length.

The pros and cons of a phased withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) from some areas in the border state as part of the package were also deliberated at the crucial meeting.

The meet was held in the wake of violence and rising death toll in the valley, which recorded four more persons' deaths and taking the total death toll in last three months to 75.

Earlier in the day, ahead of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security meeting, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, briefed the Army Commanders on Government's Kashmir policy.

Dr. Singh said the Government is willing to talk to every person or group in Kashmir, which abjures violence within the framework of the Constitution.

While speaking at the Combined Commanders' Conference in New Delhi, Dr. Singh said: "The unrest in the state of Jammu and Kashmir over the last few weeks is a matter of concern. The youth of Kashmir are our citizens and their grievances have to be addressed."

"We have to ensure better delivery of services and generate avenues for economic advancement for the people of that State. We are willing to talk to every person or group which abjures violence, within the framework of our Constitution," he added.

Also earlier in the day, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the Kashmir Valley.

During his 40-minute meeting with Chidambaram, Omar urged for the for the withdrawal of AFPSA from urban areas and requested more amendments to the act to make it more humane.

Omar, who later met Sonia Gandhi, briefed her about the developments in the Valley.

Today's meeting was the third Cabinet meeting on the Kashmir situation since the stone-pelting violence erupted in the Valley on June 11.

The CCS comprises of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

On Sunday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony denied reports of differences of opinion in the cabinet on tackling violence in the Valley.

"There may be different views on a topic. But, once a decision is arrived at, then there would be no difference of opinion. I am not interested in starting a debate on this," he said.

"The frequent clashes in Kashmir are a cause of concern to all," he added.

Omar Abdullah had earlier said the Kashmir problem requires a unique solution, as the accession of the State with India was in different and unique circumstances than that of other States of the country.

"We are trying that all issues be resolved through dialogue. Centre has also brought this on record-both in the Parliament and outside it that dialogue should be initiated in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir requires a unique solution as the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country was in extremely unique circumstances," said Abdullah.

When asked about his recent statement on revocation of AFSPA, Abdullah said: "I have not said any such thing. I have said we are thinking on it and we are discussing the issue with Centre. We have got two options with us."

"First is that the harsh side of AFSPA be subdued. Second option with us is that where there is hardly any impact of militancy and where the role of Army is not required from those areas AFSPA can be removed in a phased manner. For which we are working for identifying some districts of Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

The cycle of violence has led to frequent shutdowns and curfew in the Valley for the past three months.

Curfew was clamped in more areas of the Kashmir Valley on Monday in view of incidents of violence in several parts and a protest march called by the separatists in Srinagar. (ANI)

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