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Sep 12, 2010 at 01:39pm IST

Eid violence may divide CCS over Kashmir package

Srinagar: Violence observed in the Kashmir Valley during Eid threatens to weaken the case for withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

What was meant to be a peaceful march by the separatists led by Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Yasin Mallick, turned violent on Saturday with mobs torching police barracks and setting government buildings on fire.

At Hazratbal, police had to fire in the air to disperse the mob.

This was the most violent Eid in Srinagar in the last 20 years. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah blamed Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, who had given the call for a protest march to the city's historic Lal Chowk, for turning festivity into fire.

According to many, what added fuel to the fire was Centre's failure to come out with its much publicised Eid package for the Valley.

The proposal to withdraw AFSPA from the valley will be discussed by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Monday. Earlier, divisions within the government and the Congress party on the issue delayed the meet.

According to sources, while Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Defence Minister AK Antony are against any change or selective withdrawal of AFSPA, Home Minister P Chidambaram favours such a move.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is following the middle path and feels it's important to send a message from Centre.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi want a humane and holistic approach to be taken on the issue.

However, with Eid violence hitting Srinagar before PM's Eid initiative, the mood at the CCS over AFSPA's withdrawal could change. The CCS will also decide on a renewed dialogue offer with Kashmiri hardliners.

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