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Army chief speaks up on AFSPA in Kashmir

September 18, 2010 13:13 IST

Amid a raging debate on the dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and its partial withdrawal from Kashmir, Army chief General V K Singh on Saturday said the AFSPA was an 'enabling provision' and not 'arbitrary'.

The army has given its views on the issue and the government will take the "correct decision," he said.

General Singh also said there have been more infiltration attempts into Jammu and Kashmir in the last two months and did not rule out 'some methods' in Pakistan trying to exploit the unrest in the border state.

To questions by reporters on the demand for diluting the AFSPA, General Singh said it was "an enabling provision, not arbitrary".

"I think the government will take a correct decision on what is to be done about it," he said.

To repeated queries on the issue, he said, "You all know that the Supreme Court has very clearly said that provisions of AFSPA are neither arbitrary nor against the Constitution. We have told the ministry of defence whatever the Army has to say and the matter is under the consideration of the government."

On infiltration, he said, "There are more attempts, more incidents in the last two months. Overall, there has been decrease in violence, but in the last two months, infiltration has increased and so, the number of terrorists killed."

He said it could be a coincidence that there have been more infiltration attempts since the unrest erupted.

"There can be some linkage. There can be some methods in Pakistan trying to exploit the situation," General Singh said at the same time to a question on the Kashmir situation.

The Army chief's comments came a day after India asked Pakistan to take effective action against infiltration from across the LoC and dismantle terror infrastructure as it is people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffered its consequences.

Hitting back at Pakistan for asking India to 'exercise restraint' in Kashmir, New Delhi had also told Islamabad to take effective action against infiltration.

On reports about Chinese military's presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Army chief said it did not cause concern at the moment. "We are watching it. If it becomes a matter of concern, we will have to go back to the government for action required to be taken," he said.

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