TODAY -
'Sonia should be not remained silent on AFSPA'
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Agency

Dimapur, November 12 2010: About 98 activist personalities and organizations from across the country on Thursday accused the Government of India for turning a blind eye to deep excesses committed by the armed forces under AFSPA, for long.

Sonia Gandhi should not remain silent to the atrocities and excesses committed by the Indian armed forces under the black law, the activists have said.

"For too long, the government has turned a blind eye to excesses by the armed forces committed under AFSPA.

For too long, it has refused to implement the recommendations of several of its own committees � from the Justive Jeevan Reddy Committee to the 2nd Administrative Reforms Committee � to repeal AFSPA.

For too long it has suppressed peaceful voices of protest like that of Irom Sharmila by holding her in solitary confinement, without rights of visitation granted even to convicted criminals in the country," the signed statement said.

On November 12, 2010 UPA and AICC chief Sonia Gandhi visited Manipur to inaugurate "some developmental projects" and a Congress Bhawan.

"But it seems, that like the government she heads, Ms Gandhi has no time or inclination to listen to the voices of the people of Manipur, or indeed to live up to the promises made by her own government � after all, on 2 December 2006, PM Manmohan Singh promised the speedy removal of the AFSPA at the historic Kangla Fort from where she will now address a public meeting," the activists stated.

As chairperson of National Advisory Council Gandhi ought to go beyond political affiliations by meeting Irom Sharmila on her current visit, the activists said.

Sonia should then initiate proceedings to end the undemocratic way in which Irom Sharmila's freedom of liberty and speech have been taken away from her, the statement said.

Manipur state has been paying tribute to the 10 years of fast-unto-death strike by Imphal-based poet, Irom Chanu Sharmila, against the draconian AFSPA.

The activists stated in one length: "In response, the government of Manipur has systematically disrupted peaceful public meetings and banned rallies and concerts that were being attended by people from all over the country who had met to honour Irom Sharmila and reiterate their long-standing demand for the immediate repeal of the AFSPA - a draconian law that has been force in many parts of the north east as well as Kashmir for almost 60 years now and left a terrible legacy of killings, torture, disappearances, rape, and many other crimes committed with impunity" .

The peoples' organisations, women's and students' groups and concerned individuals have demanded that if Gandhi truly wishes to do something for the people of the region, she must not remain silent on the spate of aggressions by the state government in the valley and hill areas, especially over the last year.

"She cannot visit the region and fail to initiate a political dialogue with the people.

She cannot ignore the impact of militarization by the State that dominates peoples' lives.

She cannot remain silent on the AFSPA anymore," the statement said.


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