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Not the right time to take away AFSPA: Army Chief

Not the right time to take away AFSPA: Army Chief

New Delhi: The time is "not right" for the AFSPA to be repealed from Jammu and Kashmir and any decision taken in this regard "should not be politicised", Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said Friday in the backdrop of demands to withdraw the controversial law from the state.

"We only make recommendations. If I was to be asked, I would say that the time is not right at the moment to tamper with this enabler act. We should not take away AFSPA at this juncture," he said.

The Army Chief was replying to queries at the India Today conclave here.

"It is important to observe the situation and it is important to understand the security contours of the situation before we take a decision. The decision should be a pragmatic one, it should be in national interest and it should not be politicised," he said.

The Army Chief was asked about Union Minister Farooq Abdullah's demand to repeal Armed Forces Special powers Act (AFSPA) from the state.

Gen Singh said the Indian Army was working for strengthening the hands of the state government and the day it feels it can handle the situation on its own, "then period. Go ahead".

The Army Chief observed the terror infrastructure across the Line of Control (LoC) was still intact and one of the terrorists killed in the attack on CRPF troops in Srinagar was of Pakistani origin. He said a number of external factors were "impinging" on the security environment in the state.

"This decision (on AFSPA) has to be taken in the backdrop of violence profile, in the backdrop of what can happen in future, in the backdrop of futuristic contours. We have to be very confident that it does not relapse. We shall not be left in a position of disadvantage," he said.

Stressing that it was ultimately a decision to be taken by the Government, he rejected suggestions that the Army did not want to move out of the counter-insurgency roles.

"We are there as the nation wants us to be there. We are not getting fun out of dying. We are there because we are mandated to do so," the General said.

In the recent past, political outfits in the state and its Chief Minister Omar Abdullah have been advocating repealing of the controversial act, which gives immunity to armed forces, from some parts of the state but the Army has been opposing the demand.


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