Omar meets Central leaders, talks on AFSPA, ''Ekta Yatra''

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New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief MinisterOmar Abdullah today asked BJP not to "precipitate" thesituation in the Valley by going ahead with its ''Ekta Yatra''to hoist tri-colour at Srinagar''s Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

Omar, who met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and HomeMinister P Chidambaram to apprise them of the situation in thestate, said he would be in close touch with the Home Ministryon how to deal with any situation arising out of the BJPprogramme.

Disregarding Omar''s appeal, the BJP has vowed to go aheadwith its Ekta Yatra from Kolkata that will culminate inSrinagar on January 26 with hoisting of the tricolour in LalChowk.

"I am not going into get into any specific as to what weare going to do. As I said time and again, we are hoping thatnothing will be done to precipitate the situation in Jammu andKashmir. As we come close to January 26, we will decide whatwe will do," he told reporters after a 40-minute meeting withChidambaram.

Asked about his Government''s stand on the controversialArmed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Omar said "it is nota mere political cry for my government. It is a reflection ofthe sentiments of people who want to get rid of the laws thatwere imposed two decades back when the situation wasabnormal".

Favouring amendments AFSPA or its removal from someareas of the state, Omar said "as the semblance of normalcywas visible on the ground.

"We have already starting reducing the number of bootson the ground. Dismantling of some bunkers from city andadjoining areas was the first step in the process and we hopeto continue until we reach a level where the visible presenceis greatly reduced at least.

"No right thinking person can turn around and tell youthat the AFSPA should be revoked in one shot. It is in thoseareas that we are contemplating withdrawing the disturbedareas act which will then automatically mean that the AFSPAdoes not apply there," he said.

Omar said he had set up a small committee -- one fromJammu and one for Srinagar -- with Police Chief, state HomeSecretary and two security advisers -- the Corps Commander inSrinagar for the Kashmir committee and the Corps Commander inNagrota for the Jammu committee.

Now that the new security advisors have settled down, hesaid, he would ask the state Home Secretary to convene ameeting immediately.

He later met the Congress President and apprised herabout the political situation in the state and matters relatedto coalition.

Congress is the second largest party with 17 MLAs afterNational Conference which has 28 MLAs in the 87-memberAssembly. (More) PTI ACB SKL VMN

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