The time is “not right” for the removal of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) from Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said today emphasising that any decision on this "should not be politicised".

“We only make recommendations. If I was to be asked, I would say that the time is not right at the moment to tamper with this enabling act. We should not take away AFSPA at this juncture,” he said when asked to comment on the issue.

The Army Chief, who was speaking at the ‘India Today’ conclave was asked to comment on Union Minister Farooq Abdullah’s demand for repeal of AFSPA from the state.

There have been similar demands voiced by his son and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, other political leaders and separatists in the valley.

“It is important to observe the situation and it is important to understand the security contours of the situation before we take a decision. The decision should be a pragmatic one, it should be in national interest and it should not be politicised,” he said.

Gen Singh said the Indian Army was working for strengthening the hands of the State Government and the day it feels it can handle the situation on its own, “then period. Go ahead“.

The Army Chief observed that the terror infrastructure across the Line of Control (LoC) was still intact. One of the terrorists killed in the Tuesday attack on CRPF troops in Srinagar was of Pakistani origin and a number of external factors were “impinging” on the security environment in the State, he said.

(This article was published on March 15, 2013)
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