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Sep 29, 2010 at 11:24pm IST

Omar reaches out: 52 stonepelters to be freed

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday reached out to the Valley residents and decided that 52 youngsters arrested on charges of stonepelting will be released. Sixteen CRPF bunkers across Srinagar city will also be removed.

The state government after a Unified Command meeting decided to immediately free 52 detained stone pelters. A committee has been set up to look into the possibility of denotifying the Disturbed Areas Act.

The Centre had earlier proposed an eight-point peace package for Kashmir after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in New Delhi.

Omar reaches out: 52 stonepelters to be freed

After the Unified Command meet, the state govt also decided to remove 16 CRPF bunkers across Srinagar city.

"Sixteen bunkers will be removed from Srinagar. A committee will be constituted that will recommend areas to remove the Disturbed Areas Act where it is possible," state Principal Secretary (Home) B T Sharma told a press conference after the meeting.

Government sources here said that once the Disturbed Areas Act is removed from a certain area, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would automatically cease to exist there.

A meeting will be held next month that would review the cases of people detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), Sharma added.

Several youth have been held under this Act during the past three months of unrest in the Valley.

The chief minister, according to sources, is eager to give practical shape to his promise of bringing down the presence of security forces in areas where the law and order situation has improved.

There has been a public outcry in the Valley during the last three months of unrest for repealing both the AFSPA and PSA, which are perceived by people here as harsh and stringent acts giving sweeping powers to the security forces and the administration.

The Kashmir Valley has been rocked by violence since June 11, that has seen at least 108 people, mostly youths and teenagers, killed in firing by security forces on stone-pelting street protesters.

In Kashmir, schools have been exempted from the ongoing curfew. Overall attendance has improved in classrooms after schools in the Valley reopened on Monday after four long months of violence, curfew and frequent strikes.

With IANS inputs

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