A high-level team from the centre has met with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his top officials to resolve issues regarding the proposed withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from parts of the state. The team was on a two-day visit following the Defense Ministry's gentle dismissal of the proposed withdrawal of AFSPA from certain areas. It was led by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth.
In addition, there were a series of meetings Sunday, with all stakeholders in the state, to discuss development projects and review security scenarios, in consultation with top Army commanders. The meeting with Abdullah holds particular significance and has been deemed necessary following conflicting stands on AFSPA that have emerged over the last couple of days.
The team, before meeting the chief minister, had further discussions with the Northern Army commander and three Corps commanders posted in Kashmir.
The conflicting stands over AFSPA arose on Friday, when Abdullah, at a public function in Srinagar, indicated that the act could be lifted in certain areas in the state over the next few days.
"The time has come for the revocation of laws, which were invoked in the state after militancy, from some areas of the state within the next few days," said Abdullah, at an event to commemorate Police Day, according to an NDTV report.
The ministry was apparently surprised by the statement, expressing its opposition to such a move. They indicated that intelligence reports and intercepts received over the last two to three months suggested as many as 2,500 militants in 41 training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir; 800 of these, reportedly, were ready to cross over to India.
In addition to the opposition from the ministry, Abdullah's principal ally in Jammu and Kashmir also raised concerns against the proposed withdrawal, suggesting that the act was akin to "appeasing radical political elements".