Won’t talk about AFSPA: Omar

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 7/3/2013 11:12:51 PM

Unregistered yatris will not be allowed

SRINAGAR, July 3: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said violent incidents in Kashmir valley for the last one week have given credence to those voices who are talking against and for revocation of Controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some areas of the state.
Talking to reporters after inaugurating a three days national summit on National Rural Health Mission Programme at SKICC here, the chief minister said that he is not talking about revocation of AFSPA right now, after witnessing number of violent incidents, in which both civilians and army men got killed.
“To be honest, I am not talking about AFSPA right now. For the last 10 days, we have witnessed two violent incidents, which have definitely given credence both for presence and revocation of AFSPA in the state,” he said.
Chief Minister said that an attack on army convoy in Hyderpora in city outskirts last week, in which eight soldiers got killed advocates the stand of those people who are opposing the revocation of AFSPA.
“But there are voices saying that if there was no AFSPA in the state, the incidents like Sumbal had not happened. Both the incidents have credence to the evidences both for presence and for revocation of AFSPA,” he said.
However, chief minister said that his efforts for partial revocation of the controversial AFSPA would continue and he will continue to discuss the issue with central government and also with concerned officials.
"At this point of time, I will only say that our discussions about AFSPA with Central government will continue for finding a solution,” he said.
On Markundal (Sumbal) incident, chief minister said that the investigation over the killing of the two youths, Irfan Ahmad Ganaie and Tariq Ahmad Laharwal is going on in right direction.
“FIR has been filed, investigation is going on, whatever arrests are taking place are on the basis of investigation,” he said
Earlier, speaking during the function, chief minister said that healthy human resource is vital for comprehensive and all round growth.
“Unless our children are healthy we cannot think of them taking advantage of educational initiatives and developing as capable citizens to lead the country in future. Similar is the case of our work force, farmers and the general population”, he said adding that better medical facilities across the State is essentially important for all sectors to grow and ensure development of a healthy society.
He criticised the TV news channels for “trying to blow out of proportion the recent militancy-related incidents in Kashmir.” "No matter how much the media might try to highlight Kashmir, there is a vast difference between what we see on popular news channels and what actually happens on ground," he said.
Omar said he does not wish to assert that there are no problems in Kashmir. "We do have problems. It will only be a fool who will live in denial of that but the gap between the problems, as it is sought to be projected, and the problem as it exists, I think it is clear to those of you who have made an effort to visit," he said.
He also said the state government will not allow uncontrolled access to unregistered pilgrims to Amarnath and Vaishnodevi shrines in order to avoid a repeat of Uttrakhand disaster.
"Whether it is Amarnathji or Vaishnodeviji (shrines), we are not going to give uncontrolled access. So what happened in Uttrakhand cannot happen here. Still, we are taking all necessary precautions," Omar told reporters.
The chief minister said Uttrakhand situation cannot be compared to the ongoing Amarnath yatra in Kashmir as access control system is being implemented in letter and spirit.
"In Uttrakhand, people had full liberty to go wherever they wanted. Here we have an access control system and for the first time, we have sent back 15,000 unregistered pilgrims back," he said.
Omar said that during the past several years, the unregistered pilgrims would reach here, raise hue and cry and they would be allowed to proceed for the yatra.
"This year, after what happened in Uttrakhand, we have decided we will not allow any unregistered pilgrims as they come without health checks and there is no control over them as well," he said.
Chief minister said the pilgrims were welcome to the state but they should follow the procedure laid down by the concerned authorities.
"I want to tell the intending pilgrims not to come here without registration. We have opened a counter in Srinagar. If they want to go for yatra, they should get themselves registered and then only proceed," he added.



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