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CCS meet on AFSPA today
New Delhi/Guwahati, Sept 12 (IANS/AGENCIES):
Published on 13 Sep. 2010 12:37 AM IST
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The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will meet Monday to discuss a peace package for Kashmir amidst the volatile situation in the Valley and the hardened stance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFPSA) from any part of the state.
The CCS meeting is likely to be in the evening. “There is no announcement of the CCS meet so far. But if it is held, it will be in the evening,” an official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) told IANS Sunday.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who was in Thiruvananthapuram, said the CCS will meet Monday.
The CCS comprises of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, apart from the defence minister.
Monday’s CCS meeting will be the third on the Kashmir situation since street protests by stone-pelting youths erupted in the Valley June 11. Seventy civilians, mostly teenagers and youths, have been killed in retaliatory firing by security forces during the past three months.
The meeting, which was to be held Saturday, was postponed to Monday. Several media reports said the government was taking time to “arrive at a consensus on the package”, and that the Congress core committee had not reached a consensus.
Antony denied reports of differences of opinion in the cabinet on tackling the violence in Kashmir.
“There may be different views on a topic. But, once a decision is arrived at, then there would be no difference of opinion. I am not interested in starting a debate on this,” he told reporters.
“The frequent clashes in Kashmir are a cause of concern to all,” he added.
Meanwhile, the BJP hardened its stand on the Kashmir situation by warning the government against withdrawing the AFSPA from some districts. “Any such move will demoralise the security forces deployed in the state,” party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
A meeting of top leaders of the BJP, presided over by senior leader L.K. Advani, here demanded the replacement of Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah by a “more acceptable person”.
The demand triggered speculation that the party was batting for Omar’s father and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah to take over. At a recent meeting of the BJP parliamentary party, Advani had praised Farooq’s speech against the Kashmiri separatists during the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha.
According to official sources, some of the proposals being considered for the peace package are:
Lifting AFSPA from Srinagar and Badgam districts in Kashmir and Jammu and Ramban in the Jammu region. All the districts of the state are currently under the act. Special compensation for the families of the 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 youth and withdrawal of several cases related to stone-pelting.
The central government will repeat its intention to begin a dialogue with “all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir”, the sources said. Sending an all-party parliamentary delegation to the violence-hit state will be another proposal to come up at the cabinet meeting.
The cycle of violence has led to frequent shutdowns and curfew in the Valley for the past three months. Curfew was re-imposed in Srinagar and other towns in Kashmir Sunday following massive protests and torching of some government offices by pro-separatist mobs Saturday.
Remove AFSPA from NE
With the Centre considering withdrawal of AFSPA from parts of Jammu & Kashmir, human rights activists in the northeast have intensified their movement against the controversial statute.
In fact, long before AFSPA became a bone of contention in J&K the Imphal valley had witnessed widespread protests against it, TNN reports.
Such was the intensity of Manipuri’s resistance against the Act in 2004 that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to pledge its replacement with a “more humane law’’ to address the nation’s security concerns and citizens’ rights. This was basically an attempt to douse the fire ignited by the alleged rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama Devi, a villager, by some Assam Rifles personnel.
AFSPA, which was enacted by Parliament in 1958, was initially introduced in Assam and Manipur to contain Naga rebellion. It was later amended and extended to other states.

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