Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has said it is time the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or the AFSPA, in the northeastern State is reviewed but added security concerns over the State sharing borders with foreign countries should also be considered.
The Army said that though the situation in the State was now under control, the AFSPA is a requirement to ensure peace. "Manipur is a peaceful state now, but the country's security must be a priority... The financial health and arms supply by foreign countries cannot be ruled out," Singh told a group of visiting journalists here on Wednesday.
Major General V K Mishra, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 57 Mountain Division of the Army, which spearheads counter-insurgency operations in Manipur, said the AFSPA is a prerequisite for the Army to operate for maintaining peace in the militancy-affected state.
Citing the example of seizure of sophisticated arms from an insurgent camp, he said it takes two months of efforts and lengthy operations — from intelligence gathering to locating and search of suspects — to recover arms and ammunition. Such operations can be carried out only with the AFSPA in place.
"If we do not have AFSPA, how do we do this?... It is not just an enabler, it is a prerequisite. AFSPA is a requirement for the Army to function."