Kichloo advocates revocation of AFSPA from peaceful areas

SRINAGAR: A day after chief minister Omar Abdullah met union home minister, Sushilkumar Shinde in Delhi discussing matters relating to the security, Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, minister of state for home, on Saturday advocated revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the peaceful areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to a local news agency, Kichloo said that Omar has always been advocating revocation of laws like AFSPA and it is his (Omar’s) earnest desire to see these black laws go during his tenure. “Of-course AFSPA cannot be lifted from the militancy infested areas in the state but I don’t think there should be any hesitation in its revocation from the areas that have got rid of militancy and are peaceful.”

Kichloo remarked that the chief minister in his meeting with Shinde vehemently argued for revocation of AFSPA from the peaceful areas of the state particularly in Valley. “It has been his (Omar’s) endeavour to lift this law from the state initially from the areas where the militancy has come to an end. And he has always reflected this desire in meetings with country’s top leadership, unified high command or for that matter during internal security meetings.”

He said that revocation of AFSPA will act as a confidence building measure and a peaceful atmosphere in a prerequisite for the holistic development of the state. “A peaceful atmosphere is a must for the promotion of tourism potential of the state and for it everybody has to contribute. With tourist inflow, the state will is bound to see economic prosperity and the same would address the unemployment problem.”

Asked about denial of passport facility to senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, the MoS Home stated that he has no knowledge whether Geelani has applied for the passport or not but he will surely look into the matter. “I will enquire whether has applied for the passport and if he has done so I will minutely see why he is being denied the facility when all other separatists like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik avail the same.”

He said that he has clear direction from the chief minister Omar Abdullah that passports are issued to people in minimum possible time and without any hassles. “Yes we cannot help people involved in militancy but if the same is being denied to some innocent, we are there to take a stern action. The Chief Minister recently issued strict instruction to clear all pending cases of passports where the person himself or herself is not directly involved in militancy related activities.”

He said that anybody having facing problem in availing the facility should contact him. “I appeal all such applicants who are being denied the passports for some avoidable reason should contact me,” he added.

Regarding infiltration attempts, the MoS Home said that there has been a drastic reduction in incidents of infiltration and there are multiple reasons for the same. “The fencing on borders has contributed a lot. Similarly, the heightened vigil and alertness of our security forces has effected a significant change,” he said.

On ration money to police personnel, the MoS Home said that he will take up the issue with minister for finance requesting him to expedite the release of funds. He also informed that the police department is mulling to train the SPOs in different skilled courses for three months and later the trained SPOs will be adjusted against a quota of 1000 vacancies which have been created for the purpose.

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