IMPHAL, September 11: Taking cover of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, the security forces have used excessive force against the Manipuris, said Sharmila Kanba Lup, SAKAL, member Th Ramani said at the observation of imposition of the AFSPA today.
AFSPA was implemented in several NE Indian states considered “Disturb Areas” including Manipur by the Indian government giving unrestrained powers to the security forces while dealing with the people of the areas. The prolonged imposition of the Act has however received mixed reactions from all over the world.
People of the state and others against its continued imposition have blatantly criticised the Act as draconian. The most notable protester against the Act is Irom Chanu Sharmila who has been on a hunger strike for 12 years running demanding repeal of the Act.
The Sharmila Kanba Lup observed the imposition of the Act today at the Lamyanba Sanglen, Palace Compound.
In her key-note address, Th Ramani stressed that the number of people killed by the security forces had increased after the imposition of the Act in the state.
Citing several incidents of security atrocities upon the people of the state including the high profile case of Th Manorama Devi and others, she said that the Act has given extraordinary powers to the security forces.
She further recalled that Sharmila started her fast after the November 2, 2000 Malom massacre of 10 civilians including women and a child bravery awardee by Assam Rifles.
She added that agitations against the draconian Act will continue until the Act is fully repealed.
She further urged the people of the state for a common platform and unity to demand repeal of the draconian Act.
Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit said even after Manipur was forcibly integrated into the Indian Union, Manipuris are yet to receive the treatment of being an Indian even now.
Such treatment meted out to the Manipuris could be a hidden agenda of the Indian Government to divert the attention from Sharmila’s agitation against the draconian Act.
The centre has never heard the voices of the indigenous people of Manipur.
Even the elected representatives from the state cannot voiced the feelings of the general public before the Centre, he lamented.
He further called for a collective voice of the whole NE region against the draconian act.
He further appealed Manipuris for unity.
AMKIL, president, Ph Sakhileima said under the Act, the security forces which are specifically meant for war have been sent amongst the general public.
This Act has empowered the security forces with the power to bang any door, anytime to arrest anyone, she stressed.
Many have been left handicapped for life from the brutal harassment by the security forces under the Act, she continued.
Ranting against the Act, the meira paibi leader said, many a times relatives have failed to even trace out the bones of people who have been picked up by the Indian security forces.
She alleged that the Assam Rifles bury their victims at their post at Singjamei Chinga hill. She also added that the AR used to bury their victims inside the historic Kangla fort while they were garrisoned inside.
She further ranted that skeletons found from inside the Kangla Fort are only those of Manipuris and not of outsiders.
She continued that several youths of the state have left their homesteads due to the atrocities of the security forces.
She expressed her fear that the recent inflow of illegal drugs into the state could be a handiwork of the Centre to lure the youth of the state before they started revolting against it.
Kabui Mothers’ Association, president Kakomlunglu Kamei said there is a need to take the call against AFSPA to the hills. It should not be concentrated in the valley districts only.
Both the hills and valley need to unite against the AFSPA, 1958.
AMWJU president, A Mobi stressed on the need to discuss on what needs to be done to remove the Act from the state rather than mull over the past.
He said none of the state elected representatives including the Chief Minister cannot voice the people’s dissent with the Act to the Centre like Omar Abdullah of J&K who had voiced that the Act should be removed from the NE region.Many other speakers including senior citizen Arambam Lokendro, UCM president Y Naba, former UCM president, Sapamcha Dillip, Freedom Editor, RK Ranendrajit all stressed on the need to repeal AFSPA from the state.