Abdullah calls for dialogue on Kashmir issue
Srinagar, Aug.15 (ANI): Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday urged separatist leaders to participate actively in dialogue with the central government so that peace and stability can be established in the restive region.
After receiving a guard of honour from the security forces, Abdullah addressed a gathering in Srinagar, the summer capital on the occasion of India's 66th Independence Day.
"The matter of Jammu and Kashmir is the basic political issue. The issue can be resolved through dialogues. This is why, I appeal to all the separatist leaders that they should understand the situation of the state and they must be ready to resume dialogue (with the federal government). So, come forward and let us achieve a vibrant, peaceful, and stable state through dialogues which has not been achieved by force," said Abdullah.
He also mentioned that the number of civilian causalities in militant attacks had reduced. It was 50 during 2010 and the figures had come down to eight in 2012.
Abdullah also asserted that dialogue regarding Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) revocation issue was not closed.
"I do not hesitate in saying that our government wanted to remove AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) from some parts of the state. But I am disappointed that we have not been able to achieve it. There are many reasons but I do not want to mention them now. The main thing is that the discussions have not yet stopped (on revocation of AFSPA and its in process)," said Abdullah.
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah in 2011 had urged the federal government to revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas in the state. However, no steps have been taken in this direction.
AFSPA gives security forces, battling militancy in the troubled regions of Kashmir and the northeast, sweeping powers to search, arrest or shoot people.
Hundreds of activists reiterated their demand for revocation of the anti-militancy law, AFSPA till date.
Earlier in the day, separatists called for a complete shutdown in the valley, as India celebrates its 66th Independence Day.
Major market areas in Srinagar wore a deserted look as the government imposed curfew in the city.
The restive region of Kashmir has witnessed numerous militant attacks, insurgency, and infiltration attempts from across the border in the last two decades.
The region is one of the world's most militarised zones, with India deploying more than 1.3 million troops to quell the rebellion that triggered off in 1989.(ANI)
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