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AFSPA is antithetical to democracy, and hence it should be repealed with immediate effect.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 ,