High-powered committee to review Disturbed Areas Act meets

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Srinagar, Feb 18 (PTI) A high-powered panel comprisingstate officials and a top army commander met here for thefirst time to review withdrawal of Disturbed Areas Act fromsome parts of the Valley which is seen as a step towardslifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from these areas.

Sources said the meeting assumes significance as the Armyhas been "dilly-dallying" in participating in the meeting.

They said a "high-level intervention" has prompted the Army toattend the meeting, but did not elaborate.

The meeting was attended by Director General of PoliceKuldeep Khoda, Principal Secretary (Home) B R Sharma andCommander of the Army''s key 15 Corps (which guards the Line ofControl in Kashmir Valley) Lt Gen S A Hasnain, among otherofficials.

During the meeting, Lt Gen Hasnain pointed out thatmilitancy was still a threat perception in the state and thatthere should be no dilution of the AFSPA in any of the areasin the Kashmir Valley, sources said.

However, the state government while making it clear thatmilitancy had come down in the state, said there were someareas from where the Disturbed Areas Act could be removed.

If the DA Act is removed, the AFSPA will automatically bewithdrawn from those areas.

Defence Ministry has raised objection to the lifting ofthe controversial AFSPA, saying infiltration attempts werestill continuing and terrorists could not be given any"opportunity to succeed" there.

"Militancy has come down substantially but at the sametime our feedback is not giving us comfort. Attempts forinfiltration are still continuing... We cannot take any stepthat will give an opportunity for militants to succeed there,"Defence Ministry A K Antony had told reporters in New Delhi.

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