New Delhi : Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said she has no “grudge” against a group of Army officers who have approached the Supreme Court to present their views on cases relating to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The defence minister said the officers have chosen to go to the court as there is a “certain sense of worry” in their minds which she can understand.

In an unusual move, around 700 Army officers and soldiers have approached the Supreme Court, requesting it to protect the bonafide action of soldiers under AFSPA, and voicing concerns over reported move to dilute some provisions of the law which protects the security forces from prosecution without the Centre’s approval.

“Grievance redressal is a right. I will never want to say if you have a grievance, you should not voice it. I will never say that,” she told PTI when asked about the issue.

“There are institutional mechanisms available for grievance redressal within the Army, Navy and Air Force. So it is possible for men or officers to have grievance redressal institutionalised within the forces.

“But if in the case of AFSPA, they have chosen to go to the court, there is a certain sense of worry in the minds of men and officers and I can understand that,” she said.

Sitharaman said AFSPA law was brought “to address  situations which are absolutely unique and very challenging.”

Not lowering guard on border with China

India will not lower its guard along the Line of Actual Control with China, while maintaining border peace in sync with the “Wuhan” spirit, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.

Nearly a month after talks with her Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, Sitharaman said both sides recognised that the broad decisions arrived at the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan should govern management of the border.

“Absolutely”, she told PTI when asked whether India is still on guard and not lowering it despite the Wuhan sprit.

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