Former Indian Army Chief Opposed to Creation of Unified Headquarters in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Nov 17: In what could add to further tension between the Kashmir government and the Indian army, a senior pro-Indian Kashmiri leader and Indian minister Farooq Abdullah Thursday said former Indian army chief was opposed to the creation of Unified Command Headquarters in the region.

Unified Command Headquarters is headed by chief minister of Indian administered Kashmir and comprises officials from army, paramilitary, police and civil administration.

When I was the chief minister of Kashmir, I created the Unified Command Headquarters. However, the move was opposed “tooth and nail” by the then Indian army chief Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury,” Farooq Abdullah told the media in the Indian capital today.

The Unified Command headquarters is likely to hold a crucial meeting in the region soon to discuss the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives impunity to Indian soldiers for their acts in Kashmir, from the region.

The Chief minister of the region Omar Abdullah has been pressing the Indian government to repeal the controversial AFSPA from the region. However, he has been facing strong opposition from the army, who are opposed to the removal of the act from the region. Army commanders said it will make the army handicap in fighting militancy in the region.

Indian defence minister A K Antony recently said that Unified Command Headquarters will decide about the withdrawal of AFSPA.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.