During his visit to Pune, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was particularly vocal about Indian army, national security and his views on AFSPA that may not go down well with the North East activists. In the wake of increased criticism of army in Kashmir and also the recent judgement in North East and supreme court speaking against the long extended deployment of armed forces and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives army legal immunity to army for their action in Manipur, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “If the civil administration decides to use army for protection and killing of an insurgency network, the army should be allowed to control it by firing straight. I don’t want to train the army to use lathis.”
“We can’t lose people. So, wherever the army is used, the powers will have to be there, otherwise don’t use the army,” he added.
Speaking to the reporters on Kashmir issue – even while mentioning that it is the home ministry which is in charge of the law and order situation in the state that they must speak to – he went on a defensive mode speaking about the videos of Indian army indulging in violence doing round on social media – The videos are morphed. Indian army is not a brutal one. We don’t kill for the sake of it. Sometimes mistakes happen. Indian army is capable of killing but not of brutality.
He stressed on the national security even while mentioning his focus on human rights and environment. In an obvious reference to Aamir Khan he commented on how one actor made a rsh statement about his wife fearing to live in India – However small my house may be I should continue to like it and aim to build a better house, he said.
However, it would have served in good stead had the minister suggested ways of controlling the army excesses and the mistakes that he said sometimes happen within the purview of laws like AFSPA.