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OpinionsOmar Abdullah’s juvenile antics only to salvage political ground!

Omar Abdullah’s juvenile antics only to salvage political ground!


By Sahil Verma

The recent statement by Omar Abdullah, the number two in the Conference (NC) hierarchy and the former Chief Minister of and , accusing former Army chief General (Retd) V K Singh of sabotaging the revocation of AFSPA during the UPA-2 Government, lacked a sense of maturity and understanding about the law and armed forces approach towards the security chanllenges. The issue warrants a comprehensive analysis within the broader context of AFSPA and the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir and the operational jurisdiction of an Army Chief in India.

AFSPA, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, has remained a contentious issue, especially in regions marked by terrorism, insurgency and violence such as Jammu and Kashmir. Enacted in the 1990s amid the rise of militancy, AFSPA provided necessary powers to security forces to effectively combat terrorism and to maintain law and order. However, its implementation has also been criticized for alleged human rights violations.

The then Army Chief, General V K Singh, being well-versed with the complexities of internal and external security in the region, would have had a strategic understanding of the implications of revoking AFSPA. His assessment would have been guided by the imperative of national security and maintaining stability in Jammu and Kashmir.

It's pertinent to acknowledge that the National Conference (NC), during its tenure in Jammu and Kashmir, faced criticism for its handling of security challenges and governance issues. Instances of human rights violations under its rule raise questions about its commitment to democratic principles.

Omar Abdullah's accusations against General (Retd) V K Singh and the BJP may be seen as an attempt to salvage NC's political ground and deflect attention from the NC's own shortcomings during its governance in . One thing, atleast reflects from Omar's utterings, is that the then Congress led UPA Government had made up its mind to remove the AFPSA from this turmoiled region under NC's  pressure but the same could not materialised by the then Army Chief's putting his foot down firmly.  The pertinent question is that if not the Army Chief who else would have opposed the ill conceived idea that would have weakened the security operations against the terrorists in J&K striking at will. It was the prerogative and responsibility of Gen VK Singh being the Army Chief to appraise the union government Armed Forces perceptions about the then available fragile security situation prevailing in Kashmir.

Such statements have more juvenile stuff and less poltical narrative. His desperation, as highlighted, stems from its loss of power and relevance in the region over the past decade.

Moreover, the dismantling of the separatist ecosystem in Kashmir by the present government at the Centre cannot be ignored. This has undoubtedly impacted the dynamics of political discourse in the region, including such statements by leaders like Omar Abdullah.

However, attributing motives solely to political survival overlooks the larger issue at hand.

If the centre is now contemplating to revoke AFSPA, it must have first hand assessment of the situation that stands much better than what it was a decade ago. AFSPA revocation demands a nuanced approach that balances national security imperatives with the protection of human rights and democratic principles. Any decision regarding AFSPA must involve comprehensive consultations and considerations of ground realities.

In conclusion, while Omar Abdullah's accusations may reflect political maneuvering, they underscore the complexities surrounding AFSPA and the broader political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. However, it's important to recognize that the National Conference leaders' desperation stems from their being jobless for over the past one decade which they have not used to. Speaking frankly, these leaders have never been powerless, even when out of government in the erstwhile state. They always rode on the crest of secessionist wave in the guise of mainstream. Given these circumstances, the statements made by Omar Abdullah may be viewed as attempts to regain political ground and relevance in the Kashmir Valley. He should welcome the announcement of revoking AFSPA, in case the Centre does it.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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