No ‘Individual Security’ To Village Heads: Omar

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‘No Deadline Set For AFSPA Revocation’

SRINAGAR (ONS) – Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, Monday ruled out the possibility of providing “individual security” to every panch and sarpanch while the government was prepared to deal with the situation in the backdrop of fresh threats. 

 ‘individual security’ to PRI members in the aftermath of  fresh threats to them, Chief Minster Omar Abdullah on Monday made it clear that Govt. was not in a position to provide security to each and every of nearly 33,000 village heads in the state.

“We never said that we will provide security to each and every panch and sarpanch. We are geared up to deal with any eventuality. From time to time, we are doing necessary threat assessments and wherever any steps need to be taken they will be taken,” he told reporters at Jammu on the reopening of the Civil Secretariat in the winter capital. 

Commenting on the threat to village heads, he said: “Since the previous attacks, nothing has changed what I have said. In term of what Syed Salahuddin has said regarding the Panchayati Raj institutions, unfortunately his own tune is changing. If I remember correctly after the first few phases of elections, he was the one who said that there would be no threats to panches and sarpanches and this election can go ahead without any sort of threat. I don’t know why he has suddenly jumped on this bandwagon of issuing threats.”

Omar said the situation was far better now than before and there were just a handful of militancy-affected pockets. “…each of us know that today’s situation in J-K, there is no militancy in most areas of Jammu – so there is no threat to panches and sarpanches. In Jammu region, there are three districts where there will be presence of around 30-40 militants – not more than that – in this situation there is no question of providing security to each and every panch and sarpanch,” Omar said.

“As far as Kashmir is concerned, there are some areas which are militancy affected– where central and state intelligence agencies will do on-ground threat perception assessments – after that if we have to take further steps – we will take them but it will not be made public,” the chief minister said.

Omar said no deadline had been fixed for the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. “The AFSPA has to go. But when, I can’t say,” he said. Speaking at a police function near here last year, he had announced its gradual withdrawal from some areas within days. However, he was made to eat the humble pie later as the defense establishment strongly opposed the move. 

Omar expressed gratitude to people of Jammu and Kashmir for  what he called “positively” helping the government in maintenance of peace and amity adding that this had helped to carry forward fast-track development.

“Some people do not want peace to root and normalcy to rule the roost. They try to disturb the tranquility in the name of region, religion, caste and creed and create wedge between various regions,” he said seeking constant public support to foil the attempts aimed at disturbing peace and creating hatred among various sections of the society.

“Our endeavor will be to fulfill the commitments made during 2008 Assembly elections and in the course of governance during last three and a half years of present coalition government,” he said.  

The tradition of half-yearly durbar move in vogue since 1872 at no mean a cost to the public exchequer has evoked sharp criticism from various groups. Apart from adversely effecting governance and wastage of neat two months a year in transit and resettlement in the respective capitals, the practice has causing colossal loss of resources in the pauper state. Quoting sources, reports said Rs 60 crore had been spent on this move alone. (With inputs from KNS)

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