TODAY -

The political leadership must force the army to confront its AFSPA bogey

Tehelka.com | Shoma Chaudhury | 2013-03-16 , Issue 11 Volume 10

THE AFSPA IS not merely a draconian law. It is an inexplicable political irrationality. This week brought stark crystallisations of that, yet again. Irom Sharmila — her 12th year into a fast so stoic and steadfast and historic, it literally challenges the human imagination — was brought to New Delhi to appear in a case registered against her for attempted suicide.

The debate on AFSPA has been trapped in a bizarre rigor mortis for decades. The army insists its men cannot function in a civilian conflict situation without it. Revoking it, they argue, would lower soldier morale and create safe zones for militants to group. This is a fallacious argument. In itself, AFSPA is no deterrence to the growth of militancy. In Manipur, in the years that AFSPA was in full effect, militant outfits ballooned from around 20 to 40 groups. In 2004, when the state erupted in protests against the rape and murder of Manorama, AFSPA was partially withdrawn from some districts. There is absolutely no evidence to show militancy has spiked in those districts in AFSPA’S absence.



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