SRINAGAR: Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was forced to change his speech at the inauguration of a power project in Kishtwar on Tuesday to avoid references to the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
Sources said the CM was forced to do so in the wake of the attack on an Army convoy in Srinagar that killed eight soldiers on Monday. Omar has been pushing for the partial revocation of the draconian law that gives sweeping powers to armed forces and immunity from prosecution for years.
A source said Omar was due raise the issue again along with the demand for the return of Afzal Guru’s body at the inauguration in presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance head Sonia Gandhi.
“The deadliest attack on the Army convoy (in five years) and strikes at two other places in Srinagar made (the) chief minister change his speech and (instead) shower praises on the soldiers who fight the insurgency in the state,” said a top official on the condition of anonymity .
Omar had raised the issue during the Prime Minister’s visit to the Valley for the inauguration of Qazigund-Anantnag railway link in 2009. He had urged him to address the Kashmir issue and expressed his displeasure over special powers to armed forces during his address.
The CM’s uncle and ruling National Conference additional general secretary Mustafa Kamal has been blaming intelligence agencies and security forces for sponsoring attacks in the Valley to justify their presence and laws like the AFSPA.
On Guru’s issue, the CM had written thrice to the PM. Guru was buried inside New Delhi’s Tihar Jail after his execution in February for his role in the parliament attack.