Armed Forces have no role to decide on AFSPA : Yadava

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Shillong, Sep 18 (UNI) Claiming that there was a marked improvement in containing insurgency in the Northeastern states, Director General of the Assam Rifles Lt Gen Karan Singh Yadava today said the force could not take any decision regarding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA).

'' I will be glad if this Act is not required to be used, but it is State and Central governments who has to decide on it,'' Lt Gen Yadava in his maiden press briefing, ever since he took over helm of affairs of Assam Rifles from Lt Gen. Paramjit Singh.

Unlike his predecessors, who had stoutly defended the AFSPA ''that allows a jawan to kill any person on mere suspicion'', he hinted that his force might have to perform in any operational environment without the legal shield provided by the controversial Act to fight insurgency in the country.

The Assam Rifles was often accused of gross human rights violations, especially in Manipur and Nagaland.

In all these alleged cases of human rights abuse, the security forces enjoyed unbridled immunity under the AFSPA that empowered them with the 'license to kill anybody'.

The demand for the withdrawal of AFSPA intensified following the alleged rape, torture and murder of Thangjam Manorama Devi of Manipur while in custody of the Assam Rifles, which had picked her up from her residence accusing her with rebel links in July 2004.

The entire state erupted in anger, prolonged protests and agitation, which led to judicial probe into the brutal incidence.

The findings of the probe are still under wrap.

'' We are aware of the growing concerns over the negative impact of AFSPA on human rights and fundamental rights for citizens' protection, but it is up to the state and the Central levels to determine whether such law as AFSPA was required. After all, the Assam Rifles had to operate within the charter of tasks given to them, '' he said.

Dismissing accusations that the para-military force indulging in indiscriminately attack without thinking for the life of civilian in its fight against militancy, the Assam Rifles Chief said his forces were now being sensitised with new skills of defeating the enemy during the counter-insurgency operations.

The security personnel were being equipped with new technological aides and precision weapon systems that enable them to gain better intelligence, operations decisions and accurate actions.

Informing about last night incident at Imphal, how the Assam Rifles personnel rescued a superintendent engineer of the Manipur State Electricity Board from the clutches of militants with the help of new technology and tact, he said the Assam Rifles spotted a vehicle with Kangleipak Communist Party militants in Imphal but it did not immediately launched an attack.

It was used its night vision device and found that of the three occupants only two were equipped with weapons and took the risky decision to first unarmed them '' In the operation, we would have lost our men but they successful disarm the militants and later found that the third unarmed man was a Superintendent Engineer the militants were trying to kidnap, '' he said.

Therefore, the DGAR said the induction of new detection, intelligence and communication technologies and better protective gears, the security forces could enhance operational judgment and reduce the margin or errors.

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