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AFSPA completes 53 years
Correspondent IMPHAL, MAY 22:
Published on 22 May. 2011 11:36 PM IST
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Human right activists on Sunday asked whether people are going to live under the draconian law for another 50 years or so at a ‘Parliament session’ held to mark the completion 53 years of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFPSA).
The session held in Imphal, under the aegis of the Just Peace Foundation prominently discussed on the extra-judicial killings, illegal detention, rape, torture, etc. by the security forces in the name of counter insurgency operation in the state where the Act is enforced. It was presided by former member of the Manipur Human Rights Commission, justice (retired) L Rabindra.
Speaking at the session Babloo Loitongbam, director of Human Rights Initiative, observed that hundreds of ordinary citizens of the so-called disturbed states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Kashmir have lost their lives under the draconian Act.
He asserted the Act was a symbol of oppression as extra-judicial killings, illegal detention, rape, torture, has become a routine affair for the people. Men, women, old and child are all alike under the Act, he added.
Security forces who were supposed to be an object of protection of life, liberty and dignity of the people have turned into an instrument of discrimination and high handedness under the Act, he lamented.
Speakers in the session pointed out that even the Justice Reddy Committee, appointed by Government to study the issue had admitted that "the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness."
As the draconian law completed 53 year of enactment on Sunday, youth of today need to discuss the pros and cons of the Act with reference to the experiences to be shared by the elders who have also spent half of the life under the wrath of this draconian Act, they said. “Time has come to join Irom Chanu Sharmila, who is on her fast demanding the scraping of the Act for the last 10 years with a firm resolution to meet the end of justice,” speakers said.
They said when hundreds and thousands of people from Kashmir to Manipur were demanding to scrap the AFSPA, let us join hands, stand in solidarity with the people who have been suffering under the Act for the last five decades on so. “AFSPA must go by now. Enough is enough,” the session resolved.
AFSPA, was passed on September 11, 1958 by the Parliament of India.
It conferred special powers upon armed forces in what the language of the act calls "disturbed areas" in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.
It was later extended to Jammu and Kashmir as the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 in July 1990.
In December 2006, responding to what he said were 'legitimate' grievances of the people of Manipur, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that the Act would be amended to ensure it was 'humane' on the basis of the Jeevan Reddy Commission's report, which is believed to have recommended the Act's repeal.

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