TODAY -

AFSPA in the House
- Imphal Times Editorial :: July 30 2017 -



Once an editor of a popular Imphal based daily newspaper – ‘Naharolgee Thoudang’ – a newspaper dedicated to the cause of Human Rights- as written as its slogan; a once upon a time fearless journalist ready to take up any atrocities committed by the SF under the shadow of the draconian Act Armed Forces Special Powers’ Act (AFSPA); a journalist who spent time in jail for the cause of Manipur and now the Chief Minister of Manipur – Nongthombam Biren Singh had simplified the debate on whether the controversial AFSPA should be lifted or not.

During the private member resolution moved by opposition MLA Joykishan, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that the Disturbed Area Status declared by the state government-a precondition on which AFSPA can be enforced- can be lifted any time by the state government if the law and order situation improves.

Differences in ideology over some issues had separated him from the Congress; but if one recalled it was N. Biren Singh, K Ranjit and some other Congress MLAs of the time, when Okram Ibobi Singh was the Chief Minister, that they threatened resignation if AFSPA has not been lifted at least from the seven Assembly Segments of greater Imphal area.

The threat by those MLAs including the present Chief Minister is one reason that the Disturb Area tag has been removed and AFSPA automatically could not be implied. As per provisions of the AFSPA, it is the state cabinet that can make the decision on whether the act is still required or not.

So Chief Minister N. Biren had rightly pointed out the necessity of the state government to first review the matter and make decisions on what or what not to do.

Nagaland government had once lifted AFSPA from the state but was re-imposed. As per the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958) the Central Government have the power to declare a State to be a ‘Disturbed Area’.

In case of Tripura it was different; the center welcomed the government’s decision to lift AFSPA saying there was no need for the state government to take the consent of the central government while taking the move.

The case of Jammu and Kashmir is different and as of now, we are more concerned with our state Manipur.

The three months old N Biren Singh government will surely review the law and order situation as the declaration of the Disturbed Area Status has to be reviewed every six months.

Most of the time, Home Ministers of the state government have been presenting their report saying that the law and order has improved.

And definitely if it is so, the state cabinet will surely think on the matter and surely lift the disturb area status from more assembly segments.

Hope the present government shows some difference from the previous government and stand up to deliver the aspirations of the people.



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