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Updated: January 13, 2014 17:59 IST

Army chief against dilutions, cites regional tensions

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
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Army chief Gen Bikram Singh on Monday said there should be no dilution of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the prevailing situation in the region, including possible terrorist spill over into the Valley. File photo
The Hindu
Army chief Gen Bikram Singh on Monday said there should be no dilution of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the prevailing situation in the region, including possible terrorist spill over into the Valley. File photo

The Army is not in favour of withdrawing from the Kashmir Valley just yet as had been sought by Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan recently.

Army chief General Bikram Singh while addressing the customary annual press conference on Monday said the situation in the Valley needs to be analysed before taking any decision.

“We should wait and see how the situation goes. Jammu and Kashmir is our State, our country. The Army is playing its role as per the national strategy.” Also, the Army chief cautioned against tinkering with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

General Singh said the Army has “zero tolerance” policy towards human rights violations and the rule of law has been upheld in the Machchil fake encounter case in which two officers and four jawans have been found guilty and proceeded against.

As for the Pathribal case, he said, the matter was still under investigation and sub judice. He described these incidents as “aberrations”.

Ceasefire violations

On the ceasefire violations on the Pakistan border, the General said it would be incorrect to say that India has not reacted. “The intention is not to escalate; rather it is to give a professional response at the specific place.”

In this regard, the General said, India adheres by the Geneva Convention and believes in upholding human rights and dignity.

“But if rules are broken by them, we will also not hesitate to break them.”

He said the fact that India has responded adequately is borne by the fact that a Pakistani channel Geo TV reported how one officer and nine jawans had been killed. “These are your soldiers on the ground, they have done their bit. The soldiers have reacted well.”

Decapitation of Lance Naik Hemraj

General Singh also responded to the killing and decapitating of Lance Naik Hemraj saying it was a “highly condemnable barbaric act”. He, however, appealed to the media to be sensitive towards the feelings of the families of the soldiers before showing footage of their killings or dismembered bodies.

On why the issue has not been raised with Pakistan, the Army chief said it needs to be probed if it the act of desecrating the mortal remains of a martyr was the work of terrorists or if the Pakistan Army was also involved.

The General said the Director General of Military Operations level talks at Wagah border in Pakistan recently were a “move in the right direction”. They were aimed at ensuring that the ceasefire holds and the environment remains conducive to peace.

The General said to take the talks forward the meeting of the commanders from the two sides is also scheduled to be held soon but the dates are yet to be decided.

Following these talks, General Singh said the first violation of ceasefire took place on Monday morning in Jammu and Kashmir. “Three terrorists were seen coming in and whenever a terrorist is seen our forces respond. Today also there was controlled firing and small arms were used. We will probe the incident and both the DGMOs would discuss it.”

Afghan spillover

On the prospective spillover from Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the international force in June this year, General Singh said he was hopeful that the strengthening of the Afghan National Army would check this. However, he added, “there are already some signages of some spillover in Jammu and Kashmir.”

One expects more from readers of this newspaper than well-worn proclamations of patriotism. No institution, including the army, is exempt from oversight and criticism. The role of the army in Kashmir needs to be evaluated via a dispassionate analysis and not by invoking cliches and myths. Alas, that is more difficult than wearing patriotism on one's sleeve.

from:  Ninad
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 20:49 IST

why everyone talk about removing AFSPA from J&K, why not from eastern
states for which IROM SHARMILA is fasting for the last 13 years. J&K
needs attention but eastern states too are important otherwise some
day someone like Mr. Bhushan will ask for such a refrendum in eastern
states too. China is eagerly eyeing on our eastern states and rather
than coming out with a strong foreign policy govt suppresses the voice
of the people every time. its high time to carve out a strong foreign
policy and internal policy too, otherwise BHUSHANS will advocate for

from:  anirudh baghel
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 20:37 IST

How can a democratic country like India justify and preserve rapes
against people in the name of terrorism and insurgency? It is a shame on
us! The question is, should we call the monsters who rape women as human
being? Our constitution is enough to punish the criminals and preserve
peace and harmony in any state. The army wants such laws only for their
personal benefits.

from:  Syed
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 19:38 IST

If anybody has problem with indian army there then those people should first place kashmiri hindus to their rightful place. Give their houses and lands back then talk. Also take responsibility if somebody dies due to terrorist attack. or just shut your mouth. People like Prashant bhushan should be held accountable for every death in kashmir.

from:  Kanshiraam
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 18:40 IST

Every Indian will support army chief for this statement in particular
and Prashant Bhushan such a lunatic remark by a politician representing
Aam Aadmi, go to the border whenever there is a ceasefire violation then
talk about AFSPA,why not AFSPA in J&K ? Ain’t J&K part of India?

from:  Nidhi Aswal
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 18:33 IST

What kind of democracy is there in Kashmir.These things are supposed to be decided by the people through their representatives but in Kashmir it is actually Army Rule, via the puppet governments there; installed by so called democratic India.

from:  Mudasir
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 18:25 IST

Chief is hundred percent correct, Indian politicians are votes seekers, who has to fight the Indian forces not politicians, any political leaders make such comment sent him with his whole family to tackle terrorism and fight against terrorists. Or these corrupted leaders keep their dirty mouth shut and keep away from army affairs.

from:  NMS
Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 at 17:43 IST
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