Forces need power if AFSPA repealed or diluted: Assam Rifles
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 00:33
Shillong: If there is a repeal or dilution in the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), security forces will need some kind of powers as they don't have any administrative backup, Assam Rifles DG Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy on Friday said.

"The armed forces in counter-insurgency operations do not have policing powers. We will definitely need some kind of powers since there is no administrative back-up," Roy told reporters when asked about the implication on the security forces in case there was a possible repeal or dilution of the act.

"No arbitrary power is given to anybody by this act," he claimed, amid a renewed stir across the northeast by student organisations expressing solidarity with activist Irom Sharmila demanding repeal of the act.

Roy said the power to declare any area as 'disturbed' was with the state government.

"It is only on the recommendation of the state government that the Centre declares an area as disturbed and the armed forces move in. Now, under certain extraordinary circumstances, there is nobody to issue search or arrest warrants. So the armed forces have to search and arrest without any warrant," Roy said.

"Arrested persons or recovery of war-like stores are handed over to the police within 72 hours and the legal proceedings or follow-up is as per the law of the land. The follow-up action is not in our hand, it's with the civil police," he said.

The DG, however, maintained that if a soldier wronged somebody, there were provisions to give special sanctions to prosecute the security personnel.

He said the Indian Army has the distinction of not using heavy artillery or the Air Force to deal with internal disturbances in the last six decades.

"Except for the air bombing to open the land route to Aizawl in 1966, only small arms have been used against insurgents so far, not even automatic weapons," he said.

Asked if the alleged rampant arrests in Manipur were unwarranted, he replied in the negative and claimed that insurgents were 'finding courage' to operate from those places in Imphal where the AFSPA is not applicable.


First Published: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 00:33

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