New Delhi, Sep 8 (Agencies): Terming the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as ”draconian and imbalanced”, several civil society organisations and intellectuals today demanded that the Act should be repealed.
”The best option is to repeal the AFSPA. The amendments in it would not be acceptable,” Thokchom Meinya, Lok Sabha MP from Manipur told mediapersons here on the sidelines of a Conference to discuss the call to repeal the AFSPA. ”The situation under the Act has gone to the worst. The areas of Manipur are not disturbed. Hence, there is no need of the AFSPA there,” he added.
The Member of Parliament stressed that the Central Government should realise that the Act was based on ordinances made by the Britishers.
The Armed Forces(Special Power) Bill was passed by the Parliament in 1958. Initially, the Act was applied only to the northeast territories of Assam and Manipur, aimed at containing an armed rebellion by Naga militants. After an amendment, it was extended to several other states of the region and a version of the Act has been active in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990.
The Act gives special powers to the Armed forces’ personnel for their duties in the ”disturbed areas”.
”This is an imbalanced law. It needs to be amended to protect not only civilians but also security personnel. This is not tolerable that an innocent person is picked up by the security forces and he disappears,” said Sanjay Hazarika, member of the Justice BP Jeevan Reddy Committee, constituted by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the ASFPA.
”The Reddy Committee submitted its recommendations on June 6, 2005. However, the Government failed to take any concrete action on the recommendations,” several intellectuals charged.
”These type of laws should be repealed as they have failed in getting their objectives,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director, Human Rights Watch.
Several NGOs, human rights workers have claimed that the security forces were indulging in ”violation of human rights” by misusing the AFSPA. They have demanded that the Act should be repealed.