AFSPA has lost its relevance: Kamal

Srinagar: A day after Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh advocated continuance of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, ruling National Conference Tuesday said the controversial law had lost its relevance and should be phased out in a time-bound manner.
“National Conference is of the opinion that AFSPA has lost its relevance. The law has achieved what it was meant for in the first few years after its implementation in 1990. AFSPA should be phased out and that too in a time-bound manner,” NC Additional General Secretary Mustafa Kamal told reporters here.
“The Prime Minister has himself supported the view that militancy has gone down in the state. The Chief Minister has said there has been a lot of improvement in the situation and the footprint of the Army needs to be lessened. NC president Farooq Abdullah has said that the Army should be withdrawn from areas where it is no longer needed,” he said.
The Army chief had yesterday said there should be no dilution of AFSPA in the state in view of the prevailing situation in the region, including possible terrorist spillover into the Valley after US drawdown in Afghanistan.
Kamal said Gen Singh’s statement gave an impression that the law was enacted by the Army and not by the government.
Advocating Indo-Pak dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, the NC leader said India should accept the offer of talks from Pakistan and overlook the isolated incidents happening on the LoC to achieve peace in the region.
Kamal also said National Conference was not interested in forging an alliance with its current coalition partner Congress for the upcoming elections in the state.
“At least 20,000 National Conference leaders and workers were butchered during heydays of militancy .
Our committed workers do not want any kind of alliance with Congress party and we can’t deceive them and play with their sentiments,” Kamal said.
He said that Congress state president Saif-ud-din Soz “hinted indirectly that they wanted a pre-poll alliance with NC after he suggested that elections should be contested and taken as friendly game.”
“There is no question of pre-poll alliance and there is absolutely no possibility of doing it,” Kamal said adding that NC would fight the ensuing polls single-handedly as the party had a strong base in the state.