NEW DELHI: The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is mandatory if the Army has to be deployed in Jammu and Kashmir or any other state for internal security, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.
"Mine is not the Ministry to decide about it (AFSPA). It is very simple that if the Act is existing in that particular area, the Army can operate in that area. If it is not there, Army can't operate there," Parrikar said.
He was replying to a question about his Ministry's stand on J-K government's demand to scrap the controversial AFSPA in the state. However, the Defence Minister said the decision to lift AFSPA has to be taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
"Army's job is not internal security. Let me be very clear on that. It is not my job to maintain internal security but if I am given a task for internal security then there have to be appropriate powers. Those powers come to me through AFSPA," Parrikar told PTI in an interview earlier this week.
Giving example of Manipur, he said that AFSPA has been removed from some areas and the army is not operating there.
Tripura government had yesterday decided to lift the AFSPA in the state. The controversial law has been in effect for the last 18 years to curb insurgency in the state.
Civil rights activists have called for repeal of the Act or possible amendments in Sections 4 and 7 of AFSPA, which accord far-reaching powers and legal safeguards to security forces while undertaking counter-terrorism operations.
Section 4 gives security personnel sweeping powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, "use force, even to extent of causing death", destroy arms dumps, hideouts and to stop, search and seize any vehicle.