TODAY -

MSF tutors RSS leader on AFSPA ills
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 12 2013: Opposing Rashtriya Swyamsewak Sangh (RSS) national executive member Arun Kumar's statement, "As far as the situation in Manipur is concerned, the presence of the Army is necessary for the sake of security of common people.

Manipur needs the Army until militants are neutralized," published in the Sunday Times of India, Guwahati on December 8, the Manipuri Students' Federation termed the comment as barbaric and biased.

In a letter addressed to the Times of India's Editor in Chief, MSF said the RSS leader's statement implies manipulative or racist tactics with a tinge of hooligan mindset.

Arun Kumar should know it is a law with just six sections granting special powers to the armed forces in what the act terms as "disturbed areas" .

The Act has been the cause of human rights violations in the areas of its enforcement, where arbitrary killings, torture, cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment and forced disappearances have happened.

The situation in Manipur won't be solved by this draconian law and being a Dharma leader Arun Kumar should remember triumph of Gandhiji's non violent principle, said the MSF in a statement issued by its Publicity secretary MA Wakil Alsari.

Elaborating that under AFSPA, an officer of the armed forces has power to open fire upon or use other kind of force even if it causes death to the person(s) who is/are acting against law; arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offence or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest; to enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests; stop and search any vehicle or vessel suspected to be carrying unlawful persons or weapons, Wakil said in most cases the Act's provision that arrested person should be handed over to the nearest police station within specified hours are seldom complied with by the Army officer.

Moreover, under the Act the Army officers have legal immunity for their actions, they cannot be prosecuted and are shielded from legal proceedings inspite of violating human rights, said the students' body adding that the government's judgment on why an area is declared 'disturbed' is not subjected to judicial review.

The Army personnel inspite of accused of wrongdoing are immuned from facing the law under the legal proceedings have the sanction of the Central Government.

Taking into count all these circumstances this AFSPA can be best described as Draconian Law, that has no place in any civilised society or in democratic country, maintained the secretary.

The Jeevan Reddy Commission in its reported submitted to the Government on June 6, 2006 recommended amendment of AFSPA followed by the Prime Minister himself declaring in December the same year that the Act would be amended to ensure it was humane on the basis of the Commission's report, highlighted Wakil.

Moreover, the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission chaired by Congress leader Veerapa Moily recommended that AFSPA be repealed.

On March 13, 2012, the UN asked India to revoke AFSPA saying it had no place in Indian democracy and violates International Law.

In addition to a number of UN bodies pronouncing AFSPA to be in violation of International Law the Supreme Court setting up a high-power commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde in January 2013 to probe alleged fake encounter cases in Manipur indicates brutality of the Act's enforcement in the State, he maintained.

The commission also comprising former-CEC JM Lyngdoh and a senior police officer, said in its report that the probe showed that none of the victims had any criminal records.

The judicial commission set up by the Supreme Court is trying to make the controversial AFSPA more humane, and the security forces more accountable along with suggestion for fixing a time frame of three months for the central government to decide whether to prosecute security personnel engaged in extrajudicial killings or unruly conduct in insurgency-hit regions.

The Commission noted that AFSPA was an impediment to achieving peace in regions such as Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.

The commission also said the law needs to be reviewed every six months to see whether its implementation is actually necessary in states where it is being enforced.

So far, 14 United Nation's Special Rapporteurs have recommended the Government of India to shun the grave human rights violation which is persisting in the NE region as a product of AFSPA and protect human rights issue in the region.

The UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the committee formed by a body of experts on racial discrimination from different parts of the world has also proved that AFSPA is a "racial discriminatory Act", explained Wakil.

Pointing out that MSF advisor Pebam Chittaranjan Mangang self immolated on August 15, 2004 demanding removal of AFSPA from Manipur, he said for the same cause Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on fast till date from 2002 .

The broad daylight nude protest by Manipuri women in front of Kangla Gate, then occupied by the Assam Rifles, to denounce extra-judicial killing of Thangjam Manorama Devi, continuous movement against AFSPA by the people in the region and Manipur in particular and pressure from many countries to repeal AFSPA are enough indication about the draconian face of the Act, he said and opined that the Union Government deciding not to respect the democratic voice of the people for repealing AFSPA is a part of political ploy.

Considering all these facts, the MSF has unflinching commitment to join the people in fighting for the Right to Life and demand repealing of AFSPA from Manipur.

The MSF further urged all concerned to support their demand for repealing AFSPA from Manipur with the assertion that Manipuris should not be deprived of their Right to Life.


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