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State govt asks AFSPA panel to define ‘disturbed area’

Correspondent KOHIMA, JUL 19 (NPN)
Published on 20 Jul. 2011 2:01 AM IST
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The state government has asked the review committee on Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 (AFSPA) to give proper definition of ‘disturbed area’ and as to what type of activities would fall under the present category.
According to a confidential report submitted to B. S. Kanwar, Secretary for committee to review Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the state government had asked various questions including the definition of ‘disturbed area’.
As per the definition appearing in Clause (b) of Section 2, ‘disturbed area’ is defined as absence of peace and tranquility as interpreted by Delhi High Court, as reported in AIR 1983 Delhi 513, was to be properly defined as the same could be misinterpreted.
The state government in its query pointed out that in Section 5 of the present Act on arrested person to be hand over to police, the section should explicitly mention the production or handing over the person under the custody before the magistrate or O.C. of the nearest police station within 24 hours as provided under Clause 2 of Article 22 of the constitution.
The report stated that arrested persons were tortured “beyond imagination” by adopting the different methods.
It reported that in order to avoid torture, arrested persons were made to admit to allegations, which they were not part of.
The state government report also said there were occasions where arrested persons were made to sign certificates that the arrested persons were not tortured or injured during detention.
It stated that to check these inhuman activities, a provision may be inserted after Section 4 of the Act, stipulating provision for examination of the arrested person by a civil surgeon or medical officer of the area under which the arrested person was produced before the police or the Magistrate.
It further pointed out that the deployment of Armed Forces is to aid civil powers necessary to contain disturbances.
“In a decision rendered by the Gauhati High Court and reported in (1988) Gauhati L.R.1955 (167) their Lordship has held that the ‘Civil Authorities and the Armed forces have to work as hand in glove and not in super cession of any side when the Armed Forces are deployed in the said areas, the civil authorities ceased to function,’ and accordingly the Armed Forces should be subject to the control of the civil authorities and such the grant of prosecution sanction or legal proceedings should root with the civil authorities and decision to obtain prosecution sanction of the central government should be deleted and the power be left to the state Government”, the state government stated.
However, it was learnt that there was no response or action to the state government’s queries and suggestions so far.

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