AFSPA stops armed forces from committing human rights violations, claims Chinar Corps GOC

Srinagar

Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Kashmir is not only “required” but, in spirit, also stops the armed forces from committing any human rights violations, this was stated by outgoing General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen JS Sandhu in an interview with The Tribune.

“Yes, AFSPA is required,” said Lt Gen Sandhu, army’s top man in valley.

As reported by the newspaper, Lt Gen Sandhu said a lot of people were portraying AFSPA as a “draconian law, which it is not.” “It (AFSPA) does not allow the Army to do human rights violations. AFSPA does not allow us to do murder or rape or unnecessarily exceed our brief even when we are engaged in law and order situations. AFSPA does not permit us to fire indiscriminately. The Indian Parliament, which has tremendous wisdom, passed the law with a lot of thought and insight and they did not give large powers to the Army in this Act,” Lt Gen Sandhu said.

Lt General J S Sandhu

On the high number of locals joining militant ranks despite ‘Operation All Out’, the Corps Commander said various factors were responsible. “There is an existing support base, it provides the cadres to the ‘tanzeems’ (outfits) to fill their losses. But Operation All Out must be judged based on the overall effect. 2016 was a violent year, a large number of civilians died in the unrest after July 8, many were blinded, people faced the brunt of the violence. In 2017, the terrorists faced the heat, they were the target, people largely remained safe. In 2018, I hope the local terrorists surrender, and we continue to eliminate the Pakistani terrorists. And if the youth desist from violence, I am sure the awaam will remain safe,” he said and added that “Amnesty to first-time stone throwers has given a positive signal. It does help in shaping perceptions,” he said.

Lt Gen Sandhu will be replaced by Lt Gen Anil Kumar Bhatt, who has already arrived in Srinagar and will assume office in the next few days.

He took over as 15 Corps GOC in 2016, months after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.

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