Army chief in favour of AFSPA
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 11: Chief of Army Staff Gen J J Singh today made a case for retention of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, that was being reviewed by a committee set up by the Centre.

"Would you like your army to have an unequal battle with the anti-nationals, terrorists without this Constitutional protection (AFSPA)"?, Gen Singh asked in response to a query at a press conference here today.

"If we donít have this constitutional protection would you like us to be dragged to court for small allegations.

Should we shoot only when we are shot at and not be given a fair chance to protect ourselves and do our job effectively and professionally with legal protection", asked the General.

Unlike in the frontiers where there was a border demarcating nations, he said, the terrorists are everywhere within the country and so the troops needed legal protection to defend themselves and the people.

A Committee to Review AFSP Act was in the N-E Region currently for public hearing on the legal provision that gave sweeping powers to the army in its area of operation against insurgents.

The Review Committee concluded a two-day hearing here yesterday when a majority of the civil representations were for repeal of the Act.

The Army chief also said out of the 11 lakh troops three lakh are were deployed in Assam and the Jammu and Kashmir, where an externally aided and abetted war was on and the army was trying to protect the country from armed infiltration.

Manipur rose as one to demand the complete repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act after Th Manoram was picked up from her house in May last year and later found shot dead by the security personnel.