Thursday, October 27, 2011

AFSPA issue under purview of Home Ministry: Army Chief

New Delhi, October 27, 2011(Tehelkanews)

Amid reports that the Army is opposed to withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief General V.K. Singh on Thursday said the issue is under the purview of the Home Ministry.

He said the Army has already given its inputs on the issue.

"This (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) is within the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. They are debating this and we have given our inputs. I would not like to say anything more," he told reporters on the sidelines of Infantry Day celebrations here.

Asked about National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal's remarks that the October 25 grenade blasts in Srinagar were orchestrated by the Army, Gen. Singh said, "Whosoever has given that comment, I think that does not deserve the courtesy of any remark from me".

Army has been advocating for continuing the Act on the grounds that it needed to deal with terrorism in the state.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had on Wednesday said that the withdrawal of the Act from certain areas of the state was in no way an effort to undermine the role of the Army.

"The army is essentially playing a major role in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir", he had said.

"Even the process of removal of AFSPA from certain areas of Jammu and Kashmir is being done in close consultation with the Army and other central paramilitary forces and their inputs and security concerns will be evaluated and considered while removing the footprint of AFSPA from certain parts of the state," he had said.

The Chief Minister had said that an attempt is being made to create an impression that the state government and the Army are working on divergent paths, which is not correct.

Omar had said that it is nobody's case to demonize the Army as the Army has proved time and again that it is a disciplined force which is governed by certain standard operating procedures.

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