14 Sep : As the Centre grapples with the issue of deciding on withdrawal of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, the security forces on Tuesday made it clear that they would like “legal protection” in dealing with the situation there.
On the other hand, Defence Minister A K Antony said the government would not delay a decision on Kashmir, which will be taken after taking into confidence all the major parties.
A day after CCS called an all-party meeting after deferring a decision on withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said a soldier, to perform his duty efficiently, “deserves all the legal protection” that he could get.
“I am sure the government is sensitised to this problem and whatever decision they will take I am sure it will be the correct one,” Naik, who is also the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, said when asked for his opinion on the AFSPA, which the government is reportedly considering withdrawing from some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
When asked why the government could not take a decision yesterday at the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Antony said, “Important decisions have to be taken after carefully assessing all aspects”.
“Yesterday’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had a very long meeting. Ultimately we thought before we take a final decision, we will take into confidence all the major parties so that everybody is involved.”
“Don’t worry, we will take a decision. Tomorrow is the all-party meeting. We will not delay a decision. We will take a decision,” he said.
About yesterday’s violence in the valley after reports of desecration of Quran, Antony said, “We are pained about developments yesterday. As we all know, the situation is very serious. We have to handle the situation carefully.”
Noting that religious passions were “rising high” throughout the world, Antony said, “It is the responsibility of all major groups to restrain their irresponsible elements.”
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar was non-committal on the issue of withdrawal of AFSPA, saying he hoped that the government would take the right decision.
He said the Cabinet would take a decision on the issue.
“The decision on AFSPA will be taken by the Central government. It is a pretty high level discussion and I hope the government will take a right decision,” he told reporters on the sidelines of another function in New Delhi.
“The cabinet will decide on it and I should not make any comment on the matter,” he said.