Former Army Chief VK Singh obstructed removal of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

Sopore: National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah on Thursday accused BJP leader General (retd) VK Singh of obstructing the removal of AFSPA when he was the Army chief during the UPA-2 government.

“The Home Minister has now remembered AFSPA. I had fought for it (removing AFSPA) since 2011, when I was the Chief Minister. Where did the opposition come from? It was General VK Singh, who was his cabinet colleague , and who was the Chief of the Armed Staff when I was the Chief Minister? Shah Saheb, ask him (Singh) why he stopped the process of removing AFSPA. Why did he destroy it then? Why did he say the Army will not accept it? ?Today, you are fooling the people that you will remove AFSPA,’ Abdullah said while addressing party workers in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district here.

The NC leader said that the Union Home Minister should first ease the movement of people on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
“We will see about AFSPA later, but at least ease the movement of people on the highway and we will be grateful to you for that. For now, stop the army personnel from stopping our vehicles on the highway when the convoy passes. Trouble us.” .Then we will accept that you can remove AFSPA,” he said.

The former chief minister also said that the Union Home Minister should start by releasing prisoners from Jammu and Kashmir lodged in various jails across the country.
“Many of our youth are in jails outside the state. First release them. They have started a new process of forcing the children and grandchildren of separatists to publish advertisements in newspapers. You are repeating the era whose We have had to suffer the consequences.” “Our and Congress workers were forced to leave politics by making announcements in newspapers,” he said.

Abdullah was referring to the public notice published in newspapers recently in which Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s granddaughter Ruwa Shah and Shabbir Shah’s elder daughter Sama Shabbir had pledged allegiance to the country’s sovereignty.
Later, speaking to reporters, Abdullah said it was regrettable that the Union Home Minister remembered about AFSPA now.
“We fear that just as the people of Ladakh were fooled over the Sixth Schedule, the same will happen to us too. When the parliamentary elections are over and the BJP loses all five seats, they will forget about AFSPA,” he said.

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