Army clarifies Chief’s remarks on AFSPA


Prime VIP
New Delhi, June 27

In a damage control exercise, the Army today sought to explain away its Chief Gen V K Singh's controversial comments on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) by claiming that these had not been "understood in the correct perspective".

Even as the Centre prepares to make AFSPA, that gives sweeping powers to the Army in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast, "more humane", the General has gone on record to voice his opposition to any changes, saying demands for dilution of the act were being made for "narrow political gains".

His comments come in the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's promise to make the act more humane. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has already sent a note to the Cabinet on diluting the Act.

Affirming that "all those who ask for its (AFSPA's) dilution or withdrawal, probably do so for narrow political gains," Gen Singh had said that any dilution "will lead to constraining our operation".

The Army said that the General had told a defence journal in April that "AFSPA must be understood in the backdrop of trying conditions a soldier is operating in the militancy-infested areas in Jammu and Kahmir and North East." The statement said that General Singh's comments were "primarily in context to the local politics in J and K with special reference to the separatist forces. Their sole aim is to demoralise the security forces."