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Omar meets PM over AFSPA issue

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid the on-going controversy over the issue of withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from some parts of the state.Abdullah, who is pitching for removal of the AFSPA from those areas where normalcy has returned, discussed the issue during his half-an-hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister, sources said.

The two leaders also discussed the security situation in the state, they said. After his meeting with Singh, Omar met Home Minister P Chidambaram. The meeting with the Prime Minister comes a day after Omar had discussions with Defence Minister A K Antony and Army Chief V K Singh to press for early removal of the Act from certain parts of the state.

At the meeting with Antony, Omar had presented his case for removal of AFSPA from at least four districts — two each in Kashmir and Jammu. While Antony conveyed the reservations of the Army over such a move, Omar emphasised the need to translate the promises made by the National Conference-Congress alliance on ground and reward the people of the state for maintaining a peaceful year.

Omar had noted that the state has seen a boom in the tourism industry with nearly 13 lakh tourists visiting it till October this year. The Army has voiced its serious reservations over withdrawal of AFSPA from certain parts citing security concerns.

After meeting the Defence Minister, Omar had tweeted on Sunday, "Yes, I have just finished meeting the Defence Minister & No, I don`t intend to speak to the media for the time being." The J-K Government has been pressing for partial removal of AFSPA and suggested that it could be removed from Srinagar and Budgam areas besides Jammu city and Sambha.

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