AFSPA Needed to Protect Soldiers in J&K: V K Singh

New Delhi
AFSPA Needed to Protect Soldiers in J&K: V K Singh

The controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is needed in Jammu and Kashmir to protect soldiers, Union minister and former Army chief Gen V K Singh today said.

"AFSPA is an enabling Act. It is needed to protect a soldier," Singh told PTI on the sidelines of a function here.

Singh, whose tenure as Army chief had led to a cold war with the then government in the state headed by Omar Abdullah, claimed that the Army had been filling "administrative void" in the Valley.

"There is a very interesting relationship that the Army has. It has excellent rapport with people and all those who will tell you that Army is a demon out there and should be thrown out and AFSPA is creating A B and C, I think they are only toeing a particular line which is not true," he said.

Singh was speaking after releasing a book "Holy sinners: search of Kashmir" written by Major (retd) Saras Tripathi and brought out by Manas Publications.

During his speech, he gave his veiled support to an incident in which Army firing resulted in killing of two youths in Chattergam in November last year. Army had later apologised for mistaking them as terrorists and also initiated a Court of Inquiry against the erring troops.

"The first thing happens there is if somebody shouts he panics and presses the accelerator. What does the soldier do? He has been told that people going like this may be terrorists. Four young people. But it becomes a national news of horrendous action Army did. What happens then? Cautionary measures.

"So when a terrorist comes and enter a military camp, the soldier may... Take adequate precautions and in taking that precautions he gets killed. So it is a very complex way of living and very complex way of operating," he said citing the incident.

The troopers of 53 Rashtriya Riffles had opened fire at a Maruti car in which five youths were travelling on November 3 last year when they allegedly failed to stop it at a check post near a village in Srinagar. Two of the occupants had succumbed to their injuries.

Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation, also criticised Bollywood for projecting Army men in poor light.

"Kashmir is an ongoing issue and various movies have been made depending on what the producers or the directors were thinking about. I would take a strong exception to a large number of movies because they do not show Army in the correct light and I can name them too," he said.

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