New Delhi, Jan 28: Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on Sunday said that time for revising provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has not come. Rawat said the army is concerned about collateral damage during its operations in sensitive areas of Jammu and Kashmir and North-East India. Rawat’s comments come in the wake of recent reports of consultations between Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs to dilute provisions of AFSPA.
The act gives the security forces special rights and immunity in carrying out operations in disturbed areas. Several leaders of Kashmir and North Eastern states had alleged the act was used by the army to suppress their human rights.
“We have never been strong in applying the force the way it could be applied (under AFSPA). We are very concerned about human rights. We are absolutely concerned about collateral damage. So do not get too much concerned because we are taking adequate measures and precautions,” PTI quoted Rawat as saying.
Rawat further emphasised that army has rules of engagements for various operations at every level to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the people during its operations under AFSPA. “The AFSPA is an enabling provision which allows the Army, in particular, to operate in such difficult areas and let me assure you that the Army has got quite a good human rights record,” said Rawat.
Commenting on joint operations of all wings of armed forces to curb terrorism in Kashmir, Rawat said that the armed forces have “options available” to conduct various kinds of operations.
“Yes, we have options available to conduct various kind of operations but these cannot be divulged because of the nature of the operations we have to conduct will only alert the other side,” he said.
Gen. Rawat added that “when you do operational planning, these are best left to the armed forces in the manner in which they have to conduct their operations. And the manner in which the operations are conducted and the way they are planned and the way they are executed are never put in open domain.”