Centre can’t risk withdrawal of AFSPA: Shinde

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Oct 14: Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, today said that Centre can’t take risk of withdrawal of the Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from State as there is no complete normalcy yet.
While talking to media persons on the sidelines of the function of the Congress Block presidents at Congress headquarters in Srinagar, the Home Minister said that there is not complete normalcy yet in the State. “When such a situation arrives it will be withdrawn from the entire State”, he added.
Earlier while speaking at the Congress headquarters to the Congress block presidents of Kashmir valley, Shinde lauded people of the State for fighting terrorism and putting the State back on the track of peace and prosperity.
The Home Minister said that the Government of India took many steps to restore peace but without people’s cooperation, these would not have succeeded. He said no doubt security forces fought the militancy but the credit must go to the people as it was not possible without their cooperation.
He said people of the State, particularly Kashmir, deserved the credit for the end of militancy. “Peace has come to Kashmir and I want to thank people, particularly from the Valley, that your determination has seen the end of terrorism”, he added.
Shinde said: “During my stay, I met many people who saw their dear ones killed in front of them and yet continue to work for the nation. I felicitate you and the credit must go to you.”
Expressing happiness over the number of people who attended various functions organised by the party during his Kashmir visit, the Home Minister recalled his time as party in-charge of the State saying public meetings those days were not attended by more than 50 to 70 people.
“I remember when I was Congress in-charge of this State from 1992 to 1996, senior leader Ghulam Rasool Kar and I went to a many places and mortars were fired at us. Public meetings meant presence of not more than 50 to 70 people,” he said.
“As Congress worker, it is important for us to bow our head before all revered places – be it Hindu or Muslim or any other faith. God does not discriminate between people,” Shinde said. He said he is pained whenever people fight each other in the name of religion.
The Home Minister said that he is in the State for one week. “Earlier I visited Leh, Kargil and China border. Now I visited Pakistan border, Jammu and Srinagar and will go back to Delhi. I am now going to Mayanmar and Bhutan border in next few days”, he added.
Shinde told the Congress workers the security forces are working at the borders to defend the country and asked them that it is their duty to work for strengthening the nation from inside.
The Home Minister said that wherever he goes, he visits the party office as the office is temple and Masjid for Congress workers. He said that party president Professor Saif-ud-Din Soz invited him to visit the office and he responded. He stressed for the unity of the Congress party in the State and asked the party workers to work for strengthening the party. “I came to this position by working tirelessly for the party”, he added.
Shinde lauded Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s role for running the affairs of the country. “It is because of her that I am Home Minister of the country”, he added. He said: “We wanted Sonia to be the Prime Minister of the country but she made a minority Sikh, Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister of the country which speaks of her greatness.”
The Home Minister told the party workers that Congress party will be powerful in the near future and that is why the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and RSS are disturbed.
While highlighting the role of Congress for development of the country, the Home Minister said that in early 1990 India used to go with begging bowl to countries like United State of America and United Kingdom. “But after 2004 country has grown economically and its importance in world affairs has increased and now President of US and Prime Minister of UK are visiting India twice a year”, he added.
While speaking on the occasion Professor Soz thanked Shinde for his visit to the Congress headquarter and his address to the party block presidents. He said that Shinde is a grass root level politician and he will be source of strength for the party in the State.
Earlier in the morning, Shinde visited the shrine of revered Sufi Saint, Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali (RA) at historic Charar-i-Sharief town and paid obeisance there.
Shinde was accompanied by Finance and Ladakh Affairs Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, President, PCCI, Saif-ud-Din Soz, Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, and Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad.
Shinde paid obeisance and prayed at the mausoleum for peace and prosperity. The caretakers of the shrine, as a mark of respect, performed traditional Dastar Bandhi of the Home Minister.
Shinde was greeted by the people, mostly Congress workers, and pilgrims present at the shrine and they shook their hands with him. While speaking to the people, who had gathered there, he said it was his keen desire to pay obeisance at the Hazratbal Shrine and the Shrine of Sufi Saint, Hazrat Sheikh who has always preached peace and love.
Responding to the demand of the local youth regarding on-the-spot police recruitment drive at Charar-i-Sharief, Shinde said that he will consider to held on-the-spot recruitment drive in the para-military forces in the area.
Several deputations called on Shinde in Srinagar soon after his arrival from Charar-e-Sharief and apprised him about various problems confronting them. They included Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha, Salamabad Chakoti Trade Union, J&K Pahari Cultural and Welfare Forum, J&K Producers, Directors, Writers, Actors and Technicians Association, J&K Political Migrants Front, Television Professionals United Forum, All Migrant Camps Coordination Committee and Young Industrialists.
Shinde assured the delegations that he will take up their issues with the concerned ministries for redressal. He said that Central as well as State Government are committed to provide solace to the deprived and basic amenities with peace to all the citizens of the country.


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