A day after the Union Home Minister talked about a possible scaling down in central forces’ deployment in the North East, Amnesty International Sunday said it must lead to a rethink on the use of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in NE states.
“On July 11, Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh discussed a possible reduction in deployment of central forces in a meeting with Chief Ministers of Northeastern states...(and) that the security situation has improved in the region,” Amnesty International India Media Officer Himanshi Matta said in a press statement.
“Worryingly, there was no discussion on the AFSA, 1958, which is in force in several north-eastern states,” the statement claimed.
The Amnesty International India stated “The Justice Verma Committee set up to review laws against sexual assault had said the AFSPA legitimises impunity for sexual violence.” “The Justice Santosh Hegde Commission set up by the Supreme Court to investigate cases of fake encounters in Manipur described the law as ‘a symbol of oppression...” it said.
“Several international bodies and experts, including the UN Special Rapporteurs on violence against women, extra-judicial executions and human rights defenders, have also called for the repeal of the law,” the statement added.
ENSF: While condemning Centre’s decision to declare Nagaland under the “Disturbed Area Act”, the Eastern Naga Students Federation has appeal to the Government of India (GoI) to revoke the same so as to facilitate India as the emerging super power in the world by delivering peace.
ENSF has out rightly condemned the July 8 gazette notification of the Home Ministry, declaring entire Nagaland as “disturbed” whereby in exercising the power conferred upon under Section 3 of the AFSPA. In a press release, ENSF vice president Z. Throngshe Yim and general secretary Honang. M. Jessuhu termed AFSPA as a “tool of state abuse, oppression and discrimination”.
“It is nothing but the provision for immunity of security forces that empower them to act more brutal and ruthless”, ENSF stated.
The federation also questioned the validity of the “Indian democracy” whereby fundamental rights guaranteed to its citizen under the constitution of Indian was being muted off by such the draconian act (AFSPA). ENSF stated that the act also stood in total contradiction to those gems that are being envisaged in the Preamble-- liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for its citizen and wondered whether the government of India was democratic in nature and autocratic in action?
It further observed that the imposition of such ordinances, concerning the internal security, was “no doubt a direct tag upon Nagas as second class citizen within the Indian Union”. Even after the decade old peace talks with NPGs, ENSF said it failed to understand the GoI’s logic behind such ordinances. “Its sincerity is highly questionable and condemnable”, it added.
ENSF said GoI should reason out why AFSPA was never accepted under any international law, adding it was a direct violation of Human Rights. The federation appealed GoI to refrain from “replicating the colonial policy of ‘divide and rule’ which is being followed by enforcing the so called ‘hot pursuit’ within its territory”. ENSF said GoI should immediately “abstain from unleashing the infliction caused during its pre colonial-era upon the Nagas today”.
ENSF also said that it failed to understand the logic of GoI in declaring entire Nagaland as ‘disturbed’ even after its cross border raid in Myanmar, “dismantling all hideouts and killing 100s of NSCN (K) whereby securing the Nation from a treat.” Be it Indian Army or NSCN cadres, ENSF said both are soldiers distinct to fight the war and to die and that the citizen of the country equally pays homage for the lost with due honour and respect.
Pointing out that the present development had its geneses adulterated under the MHA, ENSF in this regard urged upon GoI to strive in restoring normalcy immediately.
Failing which, it said India as a Nation could be tagged as a “failed nation” in delivering justice and peace to its citizen.
SSSC: Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) team said that the extension of AFSPA in Nagaland was unfortunate and termed it as a “failure of the government”.
In a press release, SSSC convener Ravi Nitesh and core member Devika Mittal while condemning the Centre’s decision said that it showed how incapable the government was. Despite its clear verdict at the Centre, SSSC said BJP has shown itself as a weak political party that does not have courage to repeal the act in respect of people.
“It seems that it is military that is ruling the democracy in these regions and state democracy has failed itself by adopting such repressive paths of handing over powers in military hand. It is nothing more than a surrender”, SSSC added.
SSSC also hit out at Nagaland government’s incapability in handling the situation and advocating the voice to repeal AFSPA. “Even elected MPs from North East and local assembly representatives are not coming forward with full courage and strength to voice for repeal of AFSPA”, it stated.
SSSC further condemned Kiren Rijiju, stating that as Central minister and a citizen from North East, he has not come against the order of MHA. “By this way, he only proved himself as an opportunist politician rather than being a true representative of people,” SSSC stated.
If media reports were true that Rijiju was bypassed in this decision, SSSC said he must clarify and come in front to advocate what was right for Nagaland. SSSC appealed Centre to re-consider its order and adopt measures/strategies that can save people of AFSPA imposed region from human rights violations.