New Delhi: Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Monday defended the Arms Forces Special Powers Act for soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, an act which has been under attack by activists and human rights activists. He said the dilution of AFSPA was not required. "AFSPA has been given to soldiers to operate in highly volatile environment. We should not dilute the provisions of AFSPA," General Bikram Singh said, while speaking on the ceasefire violations and killing of soldiers by Pakistan.
There has been a growing clamour for the Act, which gives special powers to Army, to be amended or withdrawn and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdulla has been leading the campaign for its revocation.
Omar has been strongly advocating that the process of revoking AFSPA be started by lifting it from peaceful areas where the army has no operations. The Chief Minister has proposed districts like Jammu, Samba and Kathua in the Jammu region and Srinagar and Badgam in the Kashmir Valley, where form the start can be made. Army is against any move to change the status quo on the Act.
Manipur activist Irom Sharmila has also been on an indefinite fast for 12 years demanding repeal of AFSPA. Irom Sharmila, who is force-fed through the nose to keep her alive began her fast till death after ten persons, including a boy who received the national bravery award, were shot dead in an alleged encounter with Assam Rifles personnel at Malom near Imphal airport on November 2, 2000.