Indian forces protect rights of enemies too: Gen Rawat
Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Friday that the armed forces have utmost respect for laws related to protection of human rights, including those of India’s adversaries.
“The Indian armed forces are much disciplined and have the utmost respect for human rights laws and international human rights laws... The Indian armed forces not only ensure protection of human rights of our own people but also of adversaries and deal with the prisoners of war as per the Geneva Conventions,” Rawat said while addressing the senior officers and interns of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on ‘Preserving Human Rights in Times of War and Prisoners of War’.
He asserted that the driving ethos of the Indian armed forces are “insaniyat”(humanity) and “sharafat”(decency). “They (Indian armed forces) are extremely secular,” he said.
He added that keeping in view the provisions of human rights laws, “now a court of enquiry is being held after every anti-insurgency operation and all records are maintained related to such operations”. The army headquarters had created a human rights cell in 1993, which is now being upgraded to the level of a directorate, to be headed by an Additional Director General.
Referring to the Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Army chief said the Act gives “almost the same powers to the Army, which are also exercised by police and the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force)” in connection with search and inquiry operations.
“However, over the years the army itself has diluted its application in its own way under the ten commandments issued by the Chief of Army Staff, which are to be strictly adhered by every soldier, and particularly those deployed for operations in anti- insurgency areas...”
Meanwhile, a day after the Army Chief triggered a controversy by condemning those leading violent protests, asserting that leadership wasn’t about guiding people to carry out arson and violence, Union minister and former Army Chief General (Retd.) VK Singh defended General Rawat and asked the opposition not to politicise everything.
“...the opposition can turn anything into a controversy... I don’t see any politics in it. If I tell students don’t unnecessarily damage property, is it politics? Search your heart and ask this question. Cross-check with Army Chief and in what context he might have said it,” he said.