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Chidambaram defends Abdullah on AFSPA, but justifies further discussions

October 31, 2011 - New Delhi

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said the Congress Party's desire to hold more consultations on revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir is perfectly understandable.

"Since September 2010, discussions are underway at various levels about reviewing the notification of disturbed areas. So, there is nothing unusual or new in the statement of the Chief Minister of J and K that he wants to quicken the process of review. If another constituent of the coalition, the Congress Party desires more consultations that's perfectly understandable. There can be more consultations, if there have to be more consultations in the Cabinet that is also understandable," said Chidambaram.

"The J and K Cabinet can consider the matter again, but the process of review is a process that started with the CCS decision and therefore it is not something, which is unusual or new," he added.

When asked about his stand on the issue, Chidambaram said: "Let the Chief Minister come back to us after conducting his review, this is the CCS decision and I am part of the CCS."

Chidambaram said the Cabinet Committee on Security met on September 25 and approved an eight-point agenda or eight-point programme to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Of the eight points, point number six and I read it 'to request the state government to immediately convene a meeting of the unified command and to review the deployment of security forces on the Kashmir Valley with particular reference to descaling the number of bunkers, checkpoints etc. in Srinagar and other towns and to review the notification of areas as disturbed areas. So, this is a decision taken by the CCS," he added.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government had earlier hinted to revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.


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