IMPHAL, April 28 - The controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) 1958 is needed in a situation where �Army is called to handle the situation after any other means and every other steps have failed to control the situation�, former Army Chief General Joginder Jaswant Singh said.
�It�s an instrument of last resort for a country or any nation. Therefore, if you don�t want your instrument of last resort, where will you go if they (army) also failed?,� said the former Army Chief on the sidelines of a function here yesterday. �So to make them (army) achieve their objective or succeed, they need to be given some protection from being dragged into false charges (by some vested interest).�
The former Army chief was here along with Dr Anshu Kataria, Chairman of Chandigarh-based Aryans Group of Colleges, to announce 100 fresh scholarships for the students of Northeastern States. The ex-Army chief, who was also a former Arunachal Pradesh Governor, added that the provision is needed to safeguard the last instrument of resort of the nation to ensure India�s integrity and India�s internal and external security.
�But, wherever the situation stabilises, the army should not be deployed there at all and AFSPA will not be there,� he opined. AFSPA is an Act which covers large parts of the Northeastern States (including Manipur) and Jammu and Kashmir and gives virtual immunity to security forces to raid, arrest and kill people. It is seen as a cover for human rights abuses by critics.
Responding to a question on ongoing NSCN (IM)-Centre peace talk, the former General said, �I think the outcome will be good and positive because the people of Nagaland want a brighter future and they deserve it.�
On appointment of many retired military men as Governors of NE States, the former General who was honoured with Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal during his four decades of service in Indian Army, said, �I do not think there is a policy that says a General will become Governors or something in North East.�