J&K governor to decide on AFSPA revocation

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Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu, Oct 25: Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra will soon decide whether special powers to the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir are to be revoked from some areas or not.

Sources said that the centre will wait for governor's final word, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, the union defence and home ministries have different perceptions, while within the state, the army and the state government have opposite views on the issue.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Home Ministry are in support of revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of the state, which has been in force for more than 21 years in the state. But the army and defence ministry are against the revocation of AFSPA as it might increase the risk in anti-insurgency operation in the state.

The debate on AFSPA emerged after Omar Abdullah's announcement in a Police function on Oct 21 in Srinagar, where he said AFSPA will be "lifted from some areas within days". With the defence ministry and the Army strongly opposing the move despite agreeing that the situation has improved, confrontation is building up on the lifting of AFSPA that was invoked in Kashmir Valley in 1990 and in the entire state (barring the two districts of Leh and Kargil) in August 2001.

According to sources, as Vohra had held key positions in the central government in the 1990s and subsequently had studied the Kashmir situation as the central interlocutor from 2003 till his appointment as Governor in 2008, he is "aware" of the ground realities and perspectives. His assessment of the situation would be a determining factor as the Army, central government officers and the state government look upon him for sound advice on the issue, sources said.

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