TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Centre's stand on AFSPA
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 13th June, 2006



It is now more than clear that the Centre is not at all keen to revoke the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the North East region.

The Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission which was constituted in November 2004 to study the provisions of the Act and submit its recommendations had more than made it clear that the Act should be abolished with some of its provisions incorporated in the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is unique in many ways.

Not only does it empower the security force to arrest, detain or shoot anyone under suspicion but it is also largely seen as a discriminative Act meant only for the North

East. It is precisely for this very reason why the Justice Reddy Commission had recommended that some of its provisions be incorporated in the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act, which is applicable through out the country.

In Manipur AFSPA has been in force for decades and instead of containing the armed movement, the number of underground organisations have only increased. Correspondingly, the allegations of human rights abuses against the security force have been rising by the years.

Moreover since the Act is applicable only in the North East region, the alienation process has taken firmer roots with each passing year and it is no wonder that many are of the opinion that what happened to Th Manorama in 2004 was inevitable in the face of the continued imposition of the said Act.

Alienation, human rights abuses and erosion of the image and credibility of the security force have been the result of the continued imposition of AFSPA, which is nothing but a rehash of an Act inherited from the British Raj.

Today AFSPA has come back to haunt the collective conscience of the people. It is more a year since the Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission submitted its recommendations to the Centre, but nothing has been done till date.

No discussion, no consideration, nothing.

In fact the message that the inaction of the Centre has rung out is loud and clear. Keep the issue aside for it is not a matter of National importance.

Nothing can be more wrong than this presumption and New Delhi should wake up to the fact that far from achieving anything positive, AFSPA has succeeded only sowing the seeds of suspicion against the security forces and once the public begins to view the men in uniform with suspicion and at times with disdain, then half the battle against militancy is lost.

The reluctance of the Centre to lift the said Act has also clearly reflected the clout and influence of the Indian Army, which is believed to be the third biggest force in the world.

This is fine and okay, but Delhi should decide whether they should continue with an Act which has only helped the security personnel to do as they please in a sensitive region like the North East or should take up remedial steps to soothe the frayed nerves and hurt sentiments of the common people of the region.

Even today Irom Chanu Sharmila is staging a fast unto death agitation demanding the revocation of AFSPA following the mowing down of numerous civilians by Assam Rifles men at Malom.

This is the spirit of the stand against AFSPA.




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