AFSPA in Aruchal
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
Itagar, April 9: Several human rights organizations from Aruchal Pradesh today strongly opposed the forcible imposition of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) by the Centre in all the districts of the state bordering Assam.
The rights bodies comprising Aruchal Citizens Right (ACR), Human Right & Law Network (Aruchal Chapter), Global Human Right Organization (GHRO), Nefa Indigenous Human Right Organization (NIHRO), Aruchal Pradesh Women Welfare Society (APWWS), Aruchal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF) urged the state government to immediately take up the matter with MHA for the safety and security of the state and its people.
AFSPA is being enforced in only in three districts of Aruchal Pradesh since September 17, 1991 and periodically reviewed by the Centre with the consent of the State Government.
“We further remind to all concerned that AFSPA contravenes intertiol human rights law and continued imposition of such Act tantamount to systematic violation of indigenous peoples’ rights and encroaching upon the interl affairs of the State, and supersedes the sovereign and plery powers of the State Government in the governce of its interl affairs such as law and order, and public order,” the organisations pointed out.
AFSPA is particularly to deal with the disturbed areas and presence of banned organizations. There are as many as 36 banned organizations throughout the country as per Ministry of Home Affairs list but there is no such banned organization functioning in the state of Aruchal Pradesh.
There are many instances of army killings of innocent people by using AFSPA in Tirap, Changlang and Longding including killing of one Chuku Parpula (37) that happened near the capital city of Aruchal in 2007 at Gumto near Doimukh while he was searching for his mithun.
In 2005, a group of Armed forces in civil dress entered Banderdewa check gate in a commercial Maruti van when police asked to stop; they said they were Indian army, the police informed the police station in harlagun and Itagar but they could not be stopped at harlagun, and when intercepted by the then on duty office magistrate with CRPF battalion at Bank Tili, they pointed there Ak 47 and their arms at the CRPF and the magistrate on duty.
“If this can happen in the state capital we can presume what can happen to a common public when AFSPA is extended to all the districts of Aruchal Pradesh,” the organizations alleged.
In March 26 2007 a private member resolution was moved by MLA Wanglin Lowangdong for withdrawal of the Disturbed Areas notification under the AFSPA 1958 in its fourth Aruchal Pradesh Legislative Assembly and accordingly, after threadbare discussion, the Assembly unimously resolved to scrapped AFSPA from the state and same was communicated to MHA but unfortutely, MHA did not agreed to the Assembly resolution which is not only an insult to the people of Aruchal Pradesh but also murder of democracy and unconstitutiol.
The exercise of special powers has also gone way beyond the “limited purpose” as the military stationed in the “disturbed areas” have indulged in rampant violation of the human rights including aerial bombing, grouping and re-grouping of villagers, enforced ‘disappearances’, extrajudicial executions, rape and sexual violence.
Irom Sharmila Chanu is entering the 15th year of her hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA). She began her fast following the massacre of 10 civilians by the Indian armed forces at Malom in the outskirts of Imphal on 2 November 2000. Since then she has been crimilly charged for attempting to commit suicide and kept alive through sal forced-feeding. Amnesty Intertiol has recognized her as a prisoner of conscience.
Once an area is declared ‘disturbed’ under AFSPA, the armed forces can destroy any property and can arrest, detain, torture and even kill any person on mere suspicion. AFSPA gives them immunity from prosecution to carry out such egregious human rights violations.
As such, the phenome of enforced ‘disappearances’, extra-judicial killings, tortures, rapes, arbitrary detentions, etc. have become endemic. Time and again, the people of the North East have been vehemently protested against AFSPA.
Government of India during UPA government constituted a ‘Committee known as Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee to Review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (1958)’ headed a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India.
The committee in their report submitted on 5 June 2005 concluded: The Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimition and high-handedness. It is highly desirable and advisable to repeal this Act, altogether, the organizations added.