Promise of revoking AFSPA in J&K made in view of LS polls: Omar Abdullah

SRINAGAR — National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said on Wednesday that the promise of revoking the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir has been made in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as he feared that the people here would be cheated just like those in Ladakh were on the promise of the Sixth Schedule, PTI reported.

He was reacting to local media reports that quoted Union Home Minister Amit Shah as saying that the BJP-led Centre will surely consider revoking the AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir in the future.

“I am waiting for this day since 2011. We made a lot of efforts to remove the AFSPA (when he was the chief minister) as well, but I fear that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will be misled and cheated like the people of Ladakh were misled and cheated on the promise of the Sixth Schedule as elections are here,” Abdullah told reporters in Budgam district.

The former Union minister said the law, which gives widespread powers and immunity against prosecution to security forces in disturbed areas, should be revoked right away in view of the statements made by central leaders about restoration of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

“As far as revoking the AFSPA is concerned, start from today. When they say the situation is normal and militancy has ended and there is no separatist thought left, then what are they waiting for?” he asked.

Private television news channel “Gulistan News” quoted Shah as saying that “the situation is getting normal and we are speedily considering revoking the AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir and a state of change is being considered.

The Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to be held in seven phases starting April 19. The counting of votes will be taken up on June 4.