Stressing that the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will not be abrogated, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that army deployment in disturbed areas will not be possible without the law.
Speaking in Pune on Thursday, Parrikar said the army will not be there if AFSPA is repealed, sending a strong message to political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, that have been demanding its cancellation.
“Do you want army only for sacrifice. The army will not be there if the AFSPA is revoked,” Parrikar said during the program to felicitate war veterans.
The defence minister said, “without the AFSPA, army deployment is not possible. If anyone doesn’t need army, then we have no problem even if you repeal the AFSPA. But then if there is an internal trouble, these people wanting AFSPA to be revoked should ask police to maintain the law and order situation.”
Underlining the importance of human rights protection, the defence minister said, efforts should be made to ensure that there are no human rights violations. The minister was referring to accusations about the misuse of AFSPA through human rights violations.
The 1958 controversial Act grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in disturbed areas including Jammu and Kashmir and Assam. Many political parties including PDA, Hurriyat Conference have advocated the revocation of AFSPA alleging that defence forces have misused the power.
On the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP), Parrikar said his ministry is working on the issue and soon the retired military personels will get OROP. “First time in 15 years that defence ministry and Armed Forces have worked out a formula. I assure everyone that OROP will be given soon.”
The minister criticised those protesting against the delay in the implemenation of OROP saying there are few who are trying to draw political mileage over the issue.
Unhappy over the delay in the implementation of OROP, wing commander (retd) Suresh Karnik, a 1971 war veteran, declined to be felicitated by the defence minister.