Forces need AFSPA legal shield, says Army Chief

The law is 'an enabling provision, not arbitrary', says General V K Singh. 'The government will take a correct decision' about AFSPA, he says.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2010 12:03 IST

Security forces need the protection of AFSPA, a law which gives them sweeping powers in disturbed areas like Kashmir, said Army Chief General V K Singh on Saturday.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is "an enabling provision, not arbitrary," said Singh in Chennai. "I think the government will take a correct decision on what is to be done about it," he said about demands that AFSPA be partially withdrawn in some parts of Kashmir or diluted.

"You all know that the Supreme Court has very clearly said that provisions of AFSPA are neither arbitrary nor against the Constitution," he told reporters.

"We have told the Ministry of Defence whatever the Army has to say and the matter is under the consideration of the government," he said.

Gen Singh said there have been more infiltration attempts into Jammu and Kashmir in the last two months and did not rule out "some methods" in Pakistan trying to exploit the unrest in the border state.

"There are more attempts, more incidents in the last two months. Overall, there has been decrease in violence, but in the last two months, infiltration has increased and so, the number of terrorists killed."

He said it could be a coincidence that there has been more infiltration attempts since the unrest in Kashmir erupted.
"There can be some linkage. There can be some methods in Pakistan trying to exploit the situation," Singh said at the same time to a question on the Kashmir situation.

The Army Chief's comments came a day after India asked Pakistan to take effective action against infiltration from across the LoC and dismantle terror infrastructure as it is people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffered its consequences.

Hitting back at Pakistan for asking India to "exercise restraint" in Kashmir, New Delhi had also told Islamabad to take effective action against infiltration.

On reports about Chinese military presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Army Chief said it did not cause concern at the moment. "We are watching it. If it becomes a matter of concern, we will have to go back to the government for action required to be taken."

Singh was in Chennai to review the passing out parade at the Officers Training Academy.

First Published: Sep 18, 2010 11:40 IST