Indian Army chief meets Omar Adbullah on AFSPA

New Delhi : Amidst a raging debate over demands for withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh Tuesday met state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday to discuss the issue.

The Indian Army headquarters described the meeting, the first in the three days Abdullah has been in New Delhi, as “a courtesy call” by the army chief on the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.

Sources, however, said the two discussed the Jammu and Kashmir government’s demand for withdrawal from parts of the border state of the special law that protects armed forces personnel from legal tangles arising out of their actions during counter-insurgency operations.

Abdullah has over the last three days met the country’s top government leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Home Minister P. Chidambaram pressing for the demand.

The central leaders have asked the chief minister to be patient till the consultation processes between the home ministry and the defence ministry, including the army, was completed.

Abdullah, who had till recently, said that he would not accept “no” as an answer to his demand, Monday agreed to further consultations and talks on the AFSPA withdrawal.

Antony, though, asked for a “mature and cool” handling of the “sensitive” issue and also pointed out that the talks with Abdullah was “inconclusive.”

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