Reasons to mark the 55th birthday of AFSPA

Reasons to mark the 55th birthday of AFSPA

Everybody have their own date of birth and meaning to celebrate the special day with mirth and gaiety. Likewise, the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 turned 55 years in the Manipur soil on 18th of August 2012; and it is time for all the people affected by the “draconian act” to resolve on some firm resolutions.
It could be mention here that, the opposition against the act started even before it was born in Lok Sabha on 18th of August 1985. Despite, strong criticism from some of the parliamentarians; the then Home Minister, G B Pant, justified the colonial law in the Parliament- as an “ordinary process of law that the Armed Forces can be used by the state government”. Interestingly, the Home Minister’s justification of ordinary process of law, which clearly mentioned that the state govt. can use armed forces only for limited purposes, has been transformed into special power by increasing the geographical “disturb areas”.
Despite strong recommendations from various independent Commissions (e.g. The Jeevan Reedy Commission; that was submitted its recommendation on June 6, 2005 and Second Administrative Reforms Commissions- 2007) that advised the central govt. to repeal the act, it were dumped for lifelong.


Irom Sharmila Chanu (born March 14, 1972), also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur” or “Mengoubi” (“the fair one”) is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. Since 2 November 2000, she has been on hunger strike to demand that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of northeast India. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”. Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Not only this, demanding immediate withdrawal of the act, Irom Sharmila Chanu kick off her fast unto death after the wake of Malom Massacre (2nd Nov 2000, claimed 10 civilians), but unfortunately, the Central Govt. is not ears to her demands since the last 12 years.
Our voice against the act seems to be voracious and getting a momentum this time around, with the open challenge of Jammu & Kashmir’s Chief Minister, Omar Abdulla against the Central government’s stand to repeal the act.
At this point of time, and on the account of this occasion we need to resolve on some points; how to do away with AFSPA.
Unity– It is observed that, the movement against the act by the pressure groups, human rights activists and state governments from the AFSPA affected region need to be unified. Due to this lack of solidification, our voice against the act is still a meek one. So, all the civil organizations, lawmakers, human right activist organizations/ individuals from the North East and Jammu & Kashmir regions should come together.
A little gambit– India is democratic set up state, the number of representatives at the Houses matters a lot. Since, the number of MPs from the AFSPA affected is miserably less in comparative with the total strength of both the houses; the above-mentioned social groups need to do lobby with the central lawmakers at parliaments. e.g.- Encouraging MPs from AFSPA unaffected states like UP to join the bandwagon.
Renew– If it is the case, then we need to review and renew our course actions. In addition to the common process of submitting memorandum and staging sit-in-protest, we need to design our line of action in such way to pierce through the dumbness of lawmakers and to deflate the obstinacy of Central government.
Non-Cooperation movement– Considering the conduct of armed forces and the motives behind using those war-people in NE states and J&K., it has to be keep in mind that, they were sent at the sweet will of Central government to suppress the popular voice of the North East people.
Apart from curbing the insurgency movement in the disturbed areas they have entrenched into our livelihood; under its civic action campaign, they have tried to win the heart of our youths by helping them during the sports and other youth activities. Apart from it, they have entered even our ritual spaces; participating at Lai-Haraoba, Thabal Chongba, and other festivals. These are some of the social encroachment by armed forces. If the trends continue to happen, we can assume that the most darkest and gloomy stage in the history of our movement against AFSPA is yet to be arrived very soon.

Therefore, the only and best way to prevent from such an unwanted phenomenon is non-cooperative movement against such new line of attack.

Apart from the constitutional and legal aspects, here are some fundamental points that we need to understand; why to repeal AFSPA

To safe life– It’s a common knowledge to all that, thousands of lives have been taken away by AFSPA and thousands are at peril, but the question is that how much more has to be sacrificed. If we did not act accordingly and promptly, the life of Irom Sharmila is at danger.
Colonial Democracy– AFSPA is an avatar of Armed Forces Special Power Ordinance Act-1942, which was imposed by the British during colonial era to suppress independence movements in the country. If all the Indian are the citizen of free India, then what is the logic behind such a law that challenges even basic human right; the right to live?

Check insurgency– As per central government’s perspective, if the AFSPA is to curb down insurgency problems at ‘disturbed areas’; as an aftermath of the brutality of armed personnel and fake encounters conducted by Indian armed forces directly or indirectly produce more undergrounds in Manipur.

Considering the pros and cons of AFSPA, we can assume that the Act is no more a solace with the people of Manipur and no more a means to check insurgency problems in the state. However, it has turned out to be a churning machine to produce undergrounds.

A freedom life– If the AFSPA (which empowered the armed personnel to kill/shot any person at mere suspect with/without any warrant and which provide legal immunity for their actions) continues to be imposed, then the value of our life and the right to live is going to be at gutter.

Manipuris are Indian, not an enemy– Armed forces are specially trained group of people, who are supposed to be deploy against the enemy.  But, taking the advantage of the prevailing insurgency problems at “disturbed areas, these war people were sent amongst us (civilians). No matter, how much an armed personnel is a gentleman, but the whole class is characterized with the basic traits; hostility, lustful, aggressiveness. Think, what will happen, war lords are amongst us- an enemy?



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