Army chief stands by J&K remarks

Army chief stands by J&K remarks

19 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior


SHILLONG: Despite facing criticism, Army chief V K Singh today stood by his remark on Jammu and Kashmir in which he was critical of the political leadership in dealing with the situation. 'What I had said is that security forces have achieved a particular level of control of the situation. After that, various initiatives have to come, there are developmental and administrative issues,' Singh told reporters here when asked about the controversy. He said, 'There are various kinds of initiatives that are need to be taken to bring up a State.' Singh's comments on the political leadership had drawn the ire of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who had said the Army chief should not make political comments. Singh had last week said the 'basic reason' for the prevailing tension in Jammu and Kashmir was the inability to build on the 'gains' that have been made in the State. Singh said Army personnel needed 'certain legal protection' in 'awkward' situations and it was up to the Government on how it should be provided. 'We are not against the people or democracy. When you employ the Army for situations which are awkward, where they have to face well-armed, well-trained terrorists, they require a certain amount of legal protection. How that it is done, we leave it to the Central Government,' Singh said when asked about the move to dilute certain sections of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). General Singh said, 'We can't let our people get hauled to court. We cannot have our people being subjected to all kinds of allegation. 'Wherever the Army is operating, it is operating with its hands tied. We have impose on ourselves certain restriction because we are operating against our own people.' The Army also needs assurances about its protection when things would go wrong, he added. On the Northeast, Singh said the situation has improved by 'leaps and bounds and lot of positive things have happened, whether it is Assam, Manipur or any other State'. 'All that it is needed now is how we administratively handle the situation in various States. Security wise the situation is perfectly fine,' the Army chief said. Referring to the recent attacks by NDFB in Assam, Singh said, 'If a child does not get attention in the house, he does something to get attention - that is what is exactly happening to the militant outfit.' After NDFB chief Ranjan Daimary was captured, the whole organisation has been in disarray, he said. 'So they have to let us know by some action that they are there. It is a group that is on its way, if handled properly they will come to the negotiation table or they will surrender,' he said. (PTI)


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