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No referendum needed : Omar Abdullah

Jammu, Jan 6 : Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said reduction of footprints of security forces and phased withdrawal does not need a referendum but a 'courageous statesman'.


He made the remarks while reacting to senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Prashant Bhushan's comments on a referendum in Kashmir.

Abdullah tweeted: "Reduction of the footprint of security forces & phased revocation of AFSPA doesn't need a referendum, just a courageous statesman to decide."

He said: "Governments get a mandate to govern & decide, they don't need to conduct a referendum before every tricky decision. Leaders must lead."

Bhushan in an interview with Aaj Tak espoused a referendum in Kashmir on the deployment of Army.

In an interview with Aaj Tak's Seedhi Baat, Prashant Bhushan said as quoted in India Today: "People should be asked whether they want that the army to handle the internal security of Kashmir. Any decision which does not have the backing of the people is undemocratic. If people feel that the Army is violating human rights and they say they don't want the Army to be deployed for their security then the Army should be withdrawn from the hinterland."

"The government can decide if the Army needs to be deployed to deal with external threats along the border. The government can also decide if the Army needs to be kept to help protect the minorities in the valley. But there should be a referendum on whether people want AFSPA to continue in the valley or not."

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said the remarks of his party colleague Prashant Bhushan on a referendum in Kashmir is not his or his party's opinion and ruled out holding any such referendum since it is a matter of internal security.

Kejriwal said "deployment of Army is a matter of internal security" and ruled out having a referendum on it.

He said the feelings of local people are essential since it will be a threat to democracy otherwise but AAP is not favour of any referendum.

--IBNS (Posted on 06-01-2014)

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