Guwahati: Asserting on the need for the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) in Manipur, Chief Minister N.Biren Singh stated that the time has not yet come to completely lift AFSPA from the state. “Dealing with counter-insurgency in Manipur and Nagaland and the North East is very difficult”, he said. The time has come to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur but it cannot be completely lifted as yet, he added.
Talking to a group of journalists from New Delhi in his office on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said, “I want to request the Centre to lift it, but we have borders with foreign countries and the insurgency movement is still a little bit there. Right now I cannot claim that AFSPA can be totally removed,” On the improved situation in the State, Singh stressed that the present situation in Manipur is totally different compared to the past.
On the cases in the Supreme Court over alleged human rights violations Singh said that justice has to be provided to everyone and observed, “Dealing with counter-insurgency in Manipur and Nagaland and the North East is very difficult. It is not similar to what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Comparing the scenario of the state with Jammu and Kashmir, he said, the terrorist is coming from outside in Jammu & Kashmir but in Manipur, he is from the same State and country and “identifying who is who is very difficult.”
It needs to be mentioned here that the Supreme Court is hearing a PIL seeking a probe into alleged cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur and had on July 14 last year constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe such cases.
Hearing the PIL plea over 1,528 alleged cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur between 1979 and 2012, the Supreme Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s SIT to probe 95 of them.
On the other hand, commenting on the need for AFSPA, Major. Gen. V.K. Mishra, General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 57 Mountain Division headquartered just outside Imphal said that for security forces to function, it was a “necessity.”
He further said that a number of activities are sustained over a period of time to keep insurgency in check which includes operations, enquiries and searches and as a result, some arrests were done and recoveries of war-like stores were made.
“Now if we don’t have AFSPA, how do we do all this? If these processes have to be carried out, then AFSPA is a necessity,” Maj. Gen. Mishra asserted.