Dilution Of AFSPA Detrimental: Army Chief30 December 2011
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Warning that partial revocation of AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir will create terrorist 'sanctuaries', Army Chief General VK Singh has said dilution of the controversial Act will be 'detrimental' to national interest. In an interview to the coming issue of Sainik Samachar, the Army Chief said, 'Just one summer of peace does not mean normalcy... Diluting of AFSPA in any form will be detrimental to national interest.' He said though the Army has not operated in some parts of Kashmir, if AFSPA is revoked, 'Army will not have legal protection to operate even if situation goes bad.' The Army Chief was asked why the force was opposing partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the state. Noting that the Army would be constrained in operations against terrorists, he said, 'Partial revocation of AFSPA will result in emergence of sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorists.' General Singh said though the degree of violence has decreased in the state, terror infrastructure in PoK was still intact. 'The operational flexibility of troops will be severely restricted and efforts to stabilize and consolidate the situation in the state will receive a setback,' he said. Mentioning that there were issues related to safety of Army personnel located in non-AFSPA areas, General Singh said, 'One should not view security situation of reduced violence in one summer, but allow consolidation of gains made before taking a call on revocation of AFSPA.' Maintaining that the withdrawal of the Act from Jammu and Kashmir will hamper the security forces' operations against terrorist groups and will bring terror attacks back to the state, Army has been opposing the moves for partial revocation of the controversial Act.