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‘Armed forces should take care of human rights’

Addressing the armed forces personnel on the eve of Independence Day, AK Antony said they must take special care of human rights.



New Delhi: In the backdrop of allegations
of fake encounter levelled against armed forces in J&K,
Defence Minister AK Antony on Sunday asked them to perform their
duties with utmost caution and ensure that human rights are
not violated in the state and the northeast.

Addressing the armed forces personnel on the eve of
Independence Day, Antony said they must take special care of
human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast and other
places.

"Bravery is required to deal with terrorists. At the same
time, our armed forces must perform their duties with utmost
caution. Armed forces personnel must take special care of
human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast and other
places," the Defence Minister said.

On corruption-related allegations faced by the forces, he
said such cases have created a poor image and have impacted
their image negatively.

"Recently, a few corruption-related cases have come to
light. This has created a poor image and a somewhat negative
impact on image of our armed forces in the public eye," he
said.

Asking the armed force personnel to perform their duties
with devotion and fairness, the Minister said, "Today, I want
to say to all of you that it is the responsibility of each one
of you to do your work with complete devotion, fairness,
honesty and truthfulness. All of you have to keep the trust
placed by the people of the nation in our Armed Forces."

On modernisation of the defence forces, Antony said it has
always been the top priority of government and steps have been
taken to increase intake of officers in the three services.

"We will continue to provide our armed forces with latest
and most modern weapon systems and equipment to help them
discharge their duties and rank among the best fighting forces
in the world. A new Officers Training Academy (OTA) has been
set up at Gaya. Similarly, an Indian Coast Guard Academy
(ICGA) has been set up at Azzhikkal in Kerala," he said.

On welfare measures to provide better facilities and
living conditions to troops and officers, he said government
is committed to provide improved facilities to everyone,
especially for those living in inhospitable and difficult
conditions.

"An improvement in quantity and quality of rations,
clothing and equipment has been introduced. Till now, our JCO
brethren used to be given fruits three days in a week. We have
now issued instructions to ensure that quantity and quality of
fruits being given to officers and Jawans is same," he said.

Along with this, we have issued instructions to
accelerate work on Married Accommodation Project and insulated
shelters are being constructed at high altitudes areas where
deployment is required, he said.

On welfare of ex-servicemen, Antony said he has appealed
to all the states to provide more employment opportunities to
ex-servicemen at all levels.

"We have taken several steps for welfare of our
ex-servicemen. 199 new polyclinics and 15 new regional health
centres have been started to provide better health care
facilities to them. Besides, a pilot online automation scheme
has been started to address pension related problems," Antony
said.

Praising the efforts of Services in sports, especially in
recently held Commonwealth Games (CWG), he said, "Our defence
forces did the nation proud at the 19th Commonwealth Games in
2010. We awarded Rs 12 lakh, Rs 7 lakh and Rs 5 lakh to every
gold, silver and bronze medeal winner respectively."

On providing more opportunities to women in the forces,
the Defence Minister said government will try to open more
avenues for them.

"We will try our best to open up more and more avenues
for women in armed forces to provide them more opportunities.
By unfurling the national flag atop Mount Everest, three women
of our armed forces proved they are in no way inferior to men
in any manner," he said.

On assistances provided by the defence forces to other
countries, he said, "In recent years, relief material was sent
to Sri Lanka and to Kyrgyzstan. Our armed forces received
widespread praise for these efforts."

PTI

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