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Eid package for J&K, Omar meets PM; AFSPA review on the cards
New Delhi, SepT 8 (IANS/PTI):
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Published on 9 Sep. 2010 12:26 AM IST
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Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday evening amidst indications that the government will announce an Eid package to restore peace in the troubled valley.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will, meanwhile, meet Thursday to review the situation in the violence-hit state.
“The PM had a one-on-one discussion with Omar Abdullah on the situation in the (Kashmir) valley,” an official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) told IANS.
The Manmohan Singh-Abdullah meeting, held at 7 Race Course Road -- the official residence of the prime minister, lasted half-an-hour, sources said. Later, Abdullah joined the Iftar party hosted by Manmohan Singh. Abdullah did not speak to the media after his meeting with the prime minister.
“Today’s PM-Omar discussions will be followed up at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and later at the full cabinet meeting Thursday,” official sources told IANS. The central government will repeat its intention to begin a dialogue with “all shades of opinion in J&K”, the sources said.
Sending an all-party parliamentary delegation to the violence-hit state will be another proposal to come up at Thursday’s cabinet meeting. Political circles have been hinting at a relief package to be announced on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr Saturday.
Meanwhile, more than 30 people were injured as protestors and security forces clashed across the Kashmir Valley Wednesday after hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was arrested earlier in the day. Despite curfew restrictions and heavy deployment of security personnel, fighting erupted on the streets as mobs poured out of their homes shouting anti-India slogans.
Authorities had imposed an indefinite curfew in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and restrictions in the southern towns of Anantnag and Bijbehara. Similar restrictions were clamped in the north Kashmir town of Kangan as well.
But defiant stone-pelting protesters clashed with police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Bemina, Hyderpora, Galwanpora, Soura and Habak areas of Srinagar.
An irate mob torched a vehicle of the Srinagar Development Authority in Bemina area of the city before being chased away by security forces armed with batons and tear smoke shells. Meanwhile, because of the Eid festival, authorities Wednesday announced that there would be no curfew or restrictions anywhere in the Kashmir Valley Thursday to facilitate Eid shopping.
Centre to amend AFSPA soon
The Centre is likely to take a decision soon on bringing amendments to the much-criticised Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and its phased withdrawal from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which is expected to meet shortly, is likely to take a decision whether certain provisions in AFSPA should be amended by incorporating some more “humane” clauses.
Besides, the CCS is expected to explore the possibility of phased withdrawal of the AFSPA in some districts of the Kashmir valley and some in the Jammu region, highly-placed sources said. The government’s thinking comes ahead of a meeting of the CCS to discuss the Kashmir situation “threadbare” which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised a couple of days ago. There are indications that the Centre may take some initiative to break the impasse.
The Central government has also been talking of making changes in the AFSPA by including more humane clauses.
According to the sources, a peace package will be finalised at the meetings of the CCS and the cabinet and is likely to include:
- Lifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the districts of Srinagar and Badgam in Kashmir and Jammu and Ramban in Jammu region. Now all the districts of Kashmir and Jammu region are placed under the AFPSA.
- Special compensation for the families of the 69 civilians killed in firing by security forces during the past three months.
- Jobs and rehabilitation for surrendered militants.
- An employment package for the educated unemployed.
- Release of arrested youths and withdrawal of several cases related to stone-pelting.

 
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