Seeking a way out of the impasse over the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA),Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today suggested modification of the law that gives immunity to the armed forces operating in disturbed areas.
If revocation was not acceptable to the Centre,modification should be looked at,he said about AFSPA that was made applicable to the state 23 years ago and is a major political issue in the run up to the Assembly polls due by November 2014.
Omar,who has not succeeded in persuading the Centre to revoke AFSPA even from parts of the State that are relatively peaceful,said that incidents in the Valley had lent credence to arguments for and against its revocation.
“I am the first person to say what happened in Bemina (eight soldiers killed by militants) and what happened subsequently in Bandipore (army shot dead two youths) strengthen arguments for and against the revocation of AFSPA. “Therefore it is important to find some common meeting ground between the two completely opposite points of view,” Omar said in an interview to PTI here.
Asked whether he was suggesting a middle way for AFSPA,the Chief Minister said,”Well there have been those who have suggested modification to AFSPA,there have been those who have suggested softening of AFSPA.
“If you are unwilling to accept revocation,then look at modifications. That is a possibility,” he said and cited the example of the state government which had made changes in Public Safety Act under which people can be detained without trial for upto two years. “This is also an option I will continue to engage with the Government of India and the line I have taken in the past and let’s see what happens,” he said.