Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Take serious note of Security Forces' view
Unable to reach at a consensual decision on the issue of dilution of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir at the CCS meeting, govt. was left with no option but to call an all-party meeting to know the views of all political hues on the issue of national security. As Air Chief Marshal has already clarified security forces' view that they need legal protection while delivering duty to protect the country from anti-national elements.The main opposition party Bhartiya Janata Party is against the withdrawal of AFSPA and Manmohan Singh Government and the ruling Congress Party are itself divided over the issue. Defence Minister A K Antony is also with the army and against the withdrawal or any sort of dilution in AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP has rightly said that no decision on this vital issue of national security and integrity should be taken to benefit the ruling coalition politically. Groping for a response to deal with the Kashmir unrest, the Centre has hoped to enlist support of all political parties at a meeting today for a strategy that could include phased withdrawal of AFSPA, an issue on which the Armed Forces still voiced reservations. Apparently wanting to move quickly to defuse the situation, the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) is also likely to meet for the second time in three days after the conclusion of the all-party meeting which is expected to deliberate on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act(AFSPA).Defence Minister A K Antony has said that important decisions have to be taken after carefully assessing all aspects before takling a final decision. Govt. will take into confidence all the major parties so that everybody is involved.In a clear indication that he was with the Army on the AFSPA issue, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik has rightly said, which must be appreciated and taken into view by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, that a soldier, to perform his duty efficiently, deserves all the legal protection that he could get. The Omar Abdullah government is pressing for the phased withdrawal of AFSPA after the situation in the valley took a turn for the worse yesterday when 17 persons were killed in violence in one single day.The meeting could have divergence of views among the political class on how to tackle the situation with the main opposition BJP making it clear it was against dilution of the powers of the Army. All-party meeting must take national opinion into consideration first before suggesting any concrete resolution to the Manmohan Singh government. The national opinion is that situation in Jammu and Kashmir is going from bad to worse. That is why AFSPA must stay there with all legal protection and moral support from the government and all political entities in the country.