Union Minister Gen (retd) V K Singh today defended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), saying it did not come in the way of punishing erring soldiers as was done in Machil fake encounter case.
“AFSPA does not give unlimited powers… we have seen what has happened in Machil (fake encounter case where five army personnel including two officers were handed over life imprisonment). No civilian court would have given a decision in such a short time,” Singh told reporters.
The former Army chief, who arrived here to meet BJP leaders and party candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, said AFSPA was only an enabling act and the Army was quick in taking action whenever there was any mistake on the part of the soldiers.
“The case has gone to Supreme Court. Supreme Court after having a look at the type of restrictions that the army has imposed said these are in tune with the thinking of the apex court. So, the Army or the soldiers does not enjoy unbridled power as people try to make it out,” said Singh, who is Union Minister of State for External Affairs.
Asked about the statement of former Home Minister P Chindambaram on AFSPA, Gen Singh said he did not attach much importance to the remarks of the Congress leader.
“I don’t give much weight to what Mr Chidambaram says. He says something at one time and second day he says something else. Let us not talk of it. And he doesn’t even know in what context he was talking,” he said.
Chidambaram while welcoming the Machil verdict said “AFSPA is an obnoxious law that has no place in a modern, civilised country.”
Gen Singh said “Let us not unnecessarily do things which appear that we are all trying to get into a particular direction… it is not so”.