December 7, 2021 6:36:14 am
The decades-old demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has resurfaced in the northeast after firing by security forces in a case of alleged mistaken identity left 14 civilians dead in Nagaland.
The AFSPA grants special powers to the armed forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
On Monday, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio called it “draconian”. Speaking at the funeral service of the civilians killed in the ambush, Rio said, “Citing law and order, the AFSPA has been in force for over 59 years here…the Centre declares the state as a disturbed area from time to time.” He said, “Nagaland has always opposed AFSPA. It should be repealed.” His statement follows Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s tweet demanding that, “AFSPA should be repealed.”
AFSPA under cloud
In 2004, then UPA government set up the Jeevan Reddy Committee to study AFSPA. The committee called the law “highly undesirable”. An administrative Reform Commission set up in 2008 endorsed the stance and a Cabinet sub-committee was formed. In 2012, Extra judicial execution Victims Family Association of Manipur filed a writ petition in SC. The Santosh Hegde Committee set up by the apex court investigated six encounters and found them to be fake.
Nagaland main Opposition party, Naga People’s Front, has also demanded AFSPA repeal.
In Manipur, National People’s Youth Front (youth wing of NPP), organised a candlelight vigil over the killings. The demand to repeal AFSPA has been a concern in the N-E, most notably expressed through the 16-year hunger strike carried out by Manipur’s Irom Sharmila.
In Assam, Opposition party Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi tweeted, “Nagaland killings are a caricature of the Indian Govt.
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