TODAY -

Time to modify and rectify colonial-era Act: Mani
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, September 11 2021: Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL) on Saturday observed the 63th anniversary of implementation of AFSPA in the state along with facilitating a public discussion on the Act at the multipurpose hall of All Manipur Students' Union (AMSU) located within the campus of Dhanamanjuri University (DMU) here.

Speaking as chief guest of the event, Manipur Human Rights Commission acting chairperson Khaidem Mani informed that the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 is imposed in the state to take care of the insurgency problem.

However, according to the Supreme Court, the President's rule under Articles 352, 353 and 354 should be enforced to suppress insurgency.

"AFSPA is an Act meant to serve as a safeguard against rebellions influenced by external forces.

But the Act was imposed in Manipur, prompting the mothers, CSOs and the people of the state to launch movement to oppose it.

Following the death of Thangjam Manorama in 2004, the movement gained momentum and was finally repealed from 7 assembly segments of Greater Imphal, after 12 mothers of the state bravely bared their bodies in front of Kangla," he recalled.

Mani continued: "Under the shadow of this draconian Act, innumerable killings of innocent civilians have been carried out.

However, the Act continues to stay in force in the state.

With the passage of time, jt has become increasingly important for the people to redirect the movement in a democratic manner and prevail upon the government to revoke the Act".

Recounting that a request in writing was submitted to the authority concerned immediately upon his appointment as acting chairperson of MHRC to declare the exact disturbed areas so as to protect the rights of the people; Mani said that there is no issue in undergoing democratic agitation as an Indian citizen.

It is time to reform, modify and rectify the colonial-era Act to bring equality in the state.

Additionally, it is equally important to elect representatives who have the capability to resolve issues plaguing the state.

Thus, he urged the people to elect honest and sincere candidates who will serve the people wholeheartedly.

Meanwhile, India's War on Democracy: The Debate on AFSPA, 1958 author Dr Malem Ningthouja said that it is a fact that AFSPA violates the constitutional rights of the people, and any attempt for its revocation requires a political angle.

The political character of AFSPA was initially to suppress the insurgency movement.

However, as many CSOs and others have stated, the Act is now used as a project to suppress the people instead.

Observing that the movement for revocation of AFSPA from Manipur is yet to be a success, the author said that families affected by the draconian Act are afraid of coming forward due to fear, while there is lack of coordination among the CSOs along with the frequent cropping up of other key issues in the state.

All of these have significantly slowed down the movement, he remarked.

"Due to lack of ideological unity, it is difficult to set up a strong united front and as such, a suicidal mindset is formed, which further hinders the movement for revocation of AFSPA," Dr Malem said and urged the people of the state to work together to revive the movement for repealing the Act from Manipur.

In his speech as the guest of honour, AMSU president Haobijam Chalamba said that since its merger to India in 1949, Manipur has suffered immensely.

The government of India, in the name of suppressing insurgency, imposed AFSPA but later refused to revoke the Act, despite the cries of the people demanding for the same.

Furthermore, none of the state ministers/MLAs till date have bravely stood up to demand for revocation of the Act, which is highly regrettable.

As such, he called for concerted efforts of the people in helping to revoke the draconian Act.

As part of the observance, Human Rights Alert executive directors Babloo Loitongbam moderated an Open Round-Table Discussion on AFSPA.

Later, AMKIL president-in-charge Nganbi spoke about the struggle of the mothers of the state for the revocation of the draconia Act from Manipur.


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