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An Act like AFSPA has no place in a democracy: NCHRO

Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be removed from several districts across Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.

Last year in December, six civilians were killed in Nagaland’s Mon district in what was later claimed to be a botched operation by security personnel. This incident had reignited demands for repealing AFSPA in Nagaland as well as other North East states of India.

AFSPA, with the undue powers that it grants to state personnel to arrest people without warrant, initiate searches without any basis, etc., is tailor-made for abuse. It is no wonder that the states where AFSPA has been in place has seen countless human rights violations and abuses.

The Mon district of Nagaland, where the incident last December had occurred, is still designated as a “disturbed” area and AFSPA is therefore still in place there along with many other districts.

While the announcement of AFSPA’s removal from several districts in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur is welcomed, it is also a reminder that the Act is still in place in many other districts, meaning that those areas are still going to see human rights abuses and excesses by the security forces.

Just a day after the said announcement, the Centre also extended the Act in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh including Tirap, Changlang, and Longding from April 1 to September 30.

The rampant human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, too, that have been happening since decades as a result of AFSPA are known worldwide.

Human rights organisation the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) demands that the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be removed from all the areas where it is in place in India. An Act like AFSPA has no place in a democracy. Under various flimsy excuses, the government has kept it in place to justify the killings and forced disappearances of innocents in these areas.

AFSPA is antithetical to democracy, and hence it should be repealed with immediate effect. We urge every other progressive organisation and civil society to come forward in demanding an end to this draconian Act, and make a step in the right direction in safeguarding human rights in India.
 Adv. Ansar Indori ,
National Secretary,

MURL condemns killing of 13 civilians by security Forces in Nagaland

Justice B G Kolse Patil, President, Movement Againt UAPA And Other Repressive Laws (MURL) said in a press statement issued here today,  that Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA),  is the main reason for the uncontrolled military powers for detention, torture, destruction, killing and execution of Indian citizens in North East and other border states. 

The latest very unfortunate incident of human rights violation is from Nagaland, wherein 13 innocent persons were killed and some were seriously injured without any significant cause. The ghastly incident took place when the villagers were returning home in a pick-up truck after the day’s work at a coal mine.  The president of Oting Village Students’ Union (OVSU), Keapwang Konyak, informed that the incident came to light after the victims didn’t return home as usual. He informed that six persons were killed on the spot while four others were killed after the volunteers set the vehicle on fire. 

In 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered an investigation into 1,528 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings between 2000 and 2012 by the security forces and police in neighbouring Manipur, another state under AFSPA.  It is a law that has great potential for large-scale human rights violations. 

This law caused enormous sufferings for thousands of innocent people, as armed forces grossly misused the provisions and killed, raped, and abducted civilians and destroyed their properties. Some states like Kashmir and Manipur witnessed more violence by the armed forces by using the provisions of this Act.

The AFSPA gives the central government power to declare certain regions, or even an entire state, as ‘disturbed areas’. This can be done by the central government even without the consent of the state government. “No prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government, against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act,” the Act says.

The people of the states under AFSPA and human rights groups across India have been demanding for long, an unconditional withdrawal of AFSPA in the best national interests. 

Justice Kolse Patil called upon all parties and groups that have concerns for justice and peace in our border regions, to build joint struggles till the repeal of this repressive law.

AFSPA should go.

Yours in solidarity,
Sadique Qureshi (National Coordinator) 
Movement Against UAPA And Other Repressive Laws (MURL)
Contact No: 9021264212  

Nagaland declared as ‘disturbed area’ for six more months

KOHIMA: The entire Nagaland has been declared as “disturbed area” for six more months, till June- end, under the controversial AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior notice. In a gazette notification, the Union Home Ministry said it is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a “disturbed and dangerous condition” that use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.

“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958), the central government hereby declares that whole of the said state to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from December 30, 2017 for the purpose of that Act,” the notification said. A home ministry official said the decision to continue the declaration of Nagaland as “disturbed area” has been taken as killings, loot and extortion have been going in various parts of the state which necessitated the action for the convenience of the security forces operating there.

There have been demands from various organisations in the northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which, they say, gives “sweeping powers” to security forces. The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades. It has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and the government’s interlocutor R N Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.

Source: FinancialExpress

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