Can’t Risk Revoking AFSPA Yet: Shinde

Union Home Minister Credits Kashmiri People For Return Of Peace

Srinagar – The visiting union home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, on Sunday ruled out the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the near future, saying that the situation in the state had not improved to the extent to “warrant such risks.” 

“The law and order situation in the state has certainly improved, and the credit for that goes to both, the security forces as well as the people of Kashmir,” Shinde said at a Congress rally here. “But we are not yet at the stage where we can afford to take any risks.”

The union minister was speaking at Congress headquarters in Srinagar soon after paying respects at the shrine of Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali at Char-e-Sharief on the last day of his Kashmir visit. 

“Despite all difficulties and dangers, the people of Kashmir have played a key role in restoring peace,” he said. “They have faced a terrible time, but have created history by bringing about this change, which India will never forget.” 

“The returning calm is the result of the cooperation of the people, and the benefits too should go to the people,” he said. 

To a question on unemployment and job prospects in the police and paramilitary cadres, the union minister said that the forces had already been instructed to recruit youth from the Jammu and Kashmir state to give them permanent employment. 

Shinde lauded chief minister Omar Abdullah for his understanding of the problems in the state, and said that he had taken commendable steps on the progress and development front. 

“The centre will give full cooperation to the state government for restoring peace, and will continue financial assistance to speed up developmental works,” he said. 

To a question on the LPG crisis raised by a local Congress leader at the rally, Shinde said that relief measures would be undertaken in Kashmir after discussing the issue in New Delhi. 

Earlier, the union minister flew by special helicopter to the Chrar-e-Sharief stadium and then drove to the ziarat of Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali to pay respects during the annual urs of the patron saint of Kashmir. 

Those who accompanied him included finance minister Abdul Rahim Rathar, minister of state for home Nasir Aslam Wani, state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz, and several top police and civil officers.

Speaking at local Congress workers there, Shinde said that his visit to the shrine had fulfilled a long-standing wish. 

“I had conveyed this wish to Prof Soz several years ago in New Delhi, and today it has been granted,” he said. 

(Observer News Service)

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