Shishak shares thoughts on rights, AFSPA

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 05: Acknowledging the hard work and creativity that went behind the making of the international awards winning documentary film, AFSPA 1958, Chairman of Manipur Human Rights Commission touched the right note and questioned why films and documentaries on the excesses and conducts of the State security forces should not be made.

AFSPA, 1958, directed by Pawankumar and produced by Bm Sanzu Sharma won two international awards at the recent Mumbai International Film Festival.

Speaking as the chief guest at the felicitation programme of the crew members of AFSPA 1958, by the All Manipur Working Journalists' Union at Manipur Jawaharlal Dance Academy today, Shishak said, "I really do not know much about the craft of film making, but it is noteworthy that a film made by youngsters has been able to win two international awards," and added, "It would be in the fitness of things if the accolades won by the documentary, AFSPA 1958, is capped off by scrapping the dreaded Act." Taking note of the suffering faced by the people due to the draconian Act, Justice Shishak said that though the Review Committee has submitted its report, it remains to be seen how the Centre will react to the report.

The future is still uncertain, he added.

It is an irony that while the public have been able to come out on the open to say no to AFSPA, the Government and the political leaders have not been able to say no to this Act, he observed.

"People have come out in the street to say goodbye (to the Act).

But our MLAs and Ministers and bureaucrats have no courage to say no (to the Act)," said Shishak.

The political leaders should have the moral courage to say what is bad, but unfortunately they do not have the conviction and the moral courage to say that AFSPA is bad, observed Justice Shishak.

Quoting a written statement by retired Army General Malik, Shishak said, "A political leader once said that if his Government comes back to power then AFSPA will be revoked.

But when his Government did come back to power, the same political leader expressed apprehension over their safety if the Act is revoked." Referring to this statement made by the political leader and quoted by the retired Army General, Shishak said AFSPA is not for the common man but to protect the leaders and their cronies.

Expressing deep concern over the election of political leaders who have no thoughts about the welfare of the common people, Shishak said that it is unfortunate that the electorates have been electing such elements to the Assembly during elections.

There is no cure for such self serving political leaders, he added.

On the present turmoil besieging the State, Shishak said, "I really do not want to say much, but it is a fact that the conduct of the State forces is worse than the conduct of the forces brought in from outside the State." Referring to the turmoil that M Naobi Chanu had to undergo at the hands of police commandos, Shishak said, "Can we really commit such atrocities on our own sisters and children ?" and questioned, "Why not a film on our State forces?" The film on AFSPA has won two worthy awards, but the poison of the Act is still very much among our midst and it remains to be seen how the Centre will react to the demand for its revocation as the Army is still very much in favour for its continuance, observed Shishak and reminded the gathering that the Indian Army is an influential institute.

As such it is important for the people to be on their guard, added Shishak.

Padmashree awardee Aribam Syam Sharma who graced the function as the guest of honour said that recording an event is easy, but making it into a film is what is tough.

It requires creativity and hard work, said the veteran film maker and added that being awarded the Jury award at an international film festival is by itself a big achievement.

The veteran film maker also praised the efforts of the producer and the director as well as all the crew members of AFSPA, 1958.Noted theatre personality, Lokendra Arambam who graced the function as guest of honour heaped praises on the young team behind the award winning film and added that all the crew members have a bright future ahead.

AMWJU presented gifts to the crew members of the film as well as the journalists who contributed still photographs to the makers of the film.