By: Ravi Nitesh
Many answers are available for above questions. It is also said that people are still raising voice against AFSPA. But, one more factor is necessary to look upon, that is efforts of whistleblowers which includes media and social activists.
Though it is clear that everybody who is living in AFSPA states (NE states and J&K) know about AFSPA and wants to repeal it. But when it comes to the people of mainland India, dramatically the vote divides. People here do not oppose AFSPA. The reason is simple, they don’t know about AFSPA. They think that opposing AFSPA is like opposing the army, opposing AFSPA is like initiating a war against government and due to their lack of knowledge and love for the nation, they miss the reality. But whose fault is this? I cannot blame that large population who see AFSPA with this angle, because they have not get any chance to see the AFSPA with another angle. Here the role of media and activists come and become important.
These are the activists and media who have a vital role in social reformation and revolution. Many rules have been changed and they bring many positive reforms in society once they truly work on some issues. However we should accept that social activists and media have not done much on the issue of AFSPA.
Though local news agencies many times bring the news of rights violation and raise the issue time to time but unfortunately it reach only among the same people who already facing the results of AFSPA. National media very few times raise the issue and never seem serious about this important issue.
Activists who work on various issues sometimes raise the voice. Many organizations and activists raise their voice in support of AFSPA victims, but they also could not bring any change or could not attract the attention of policy makers.
Main reason of this ignorance is only lack of awareness among people. No organization/activist/media continue worked in spreading awareness among common people about this draconian law. In fact they raised voice before government but common people were untouched. With a rough idea, you can say that only 20 people out of 100 know about AFSPA. Among these 20, only 2 can understand that opposing AFSPA is just opposing a specific law and not the question on armed forces entire integrity.
Media has a better role in generating awareness on large scale. Activists also have a crucial role in spreading awareness and to generate support. Media mostly work with its audio visual impact, which is more powerful and cover large number of people but mostly one sided on the part of communication. On the other hand, activists can work on grass root level. They can work in places where no media is present. They cover less number of mass at a time but it is also sure that they can inspire many. In case of their involvement with an issue, communication also become two sided. Hence, it is a mixed effort of media and activists who can bring some change and who can spread awareness on the issue.
At a time, when democracy is in demand in world politics and democratic values are growing stronger, at a time, when many national and international organizations raise their voice towards protection of human rights everywhere, at a time when concern of people becoming the main factor of policy making; rules like AFSPA are like a spot, unacceptable and unjustified.
The time has come when people are in power, people’s voice will be heard for sure, but only if it will be a collective voice for a cause. It requires the voice of those who are victims but voice of non victims people may become more powerful and will impact more because it will show its solidarity towards a real cause. AFSPA must be repealed, but we all should know that it also needs participation of large mass, removal of misunderstanding and confusion and spreading awareness about the law and its impacts.
It is requested with social activists and media of all places to come together and to fight for a cause, to spread awareness and to get support from people. People are the real power and still it is a truth at least for all those countries that believe and follow democracy and its principles.
Lets come together to fight for a cause, for a better democracy, for a secure life.