IMPHAL, April 13: United NGOs Mission – Manipur (UNM-M), a network of NGos spread across the 9 districts of the state working on the issues of human rights, peace building and violence against women and children announced today that a charter of demands has been dispatched through fax to the President of India.
Announcing this at a press conference today at the Manipur Press Club, U Nobokishore, secretary of UNM-M said that the charter would be submitted to the President in person during his Presidential visit to the state.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today U Nobokishore, secretary UNM-M said, “In 2004, as an outcome of people’s uprising in the aftermath of cases related to the brutal rape and killing of a woman in Manipur, the Government of India had set up a five member committee headed by Justice Jeevan Reddy to review the Armed Forces Powers Act.”
The Committee in its report of June 2005 submitted to the Government of India clearly termed this Act as “the Act, for whatever reasons, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness” and further recommended this law to be replaced by a more humane Act, he added.
He continued that the same conclusion was also endorsed by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission chaired by Congress leader Veerappa Moily.
This Commission’s Fifth Report submitted to the Government on June 25, 2007 also recommended that AFSPA should be repealed, he said.
The Justice Verma Committee in its report submitted to the Government on January 23, 2013 also recommended repealing of AFSPA with special reference to the use of rape as a weapon in war, he went on to say.
Nobokishore then said,”The Supreme Court of India appointed Commissiion chaired by Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Chief Justice of India; JM Lyngdoh, Ex Chief Election Commissioner; and Ajay Kumar Singh, Former DGP of Karnataka in its report submitted to the Supreme Court on April 4, 2013 has also stated that all the 7 persons of the investigated 6 cases were all killed in fake encounters. It goes without further doubt that such killings are committed by the security forces under the cover AFSPA.”
UNM-M urged upon the Government of India with a 15 charter of demands that includes for the repeal of AFSPA, to establish 20 Special Investigation Teams (SIT) to investigate all the 1528 cases of extra judicial killings as put in the PIL before the Supreme Court and cases of rape under AFSPA/counter insurgency, to take legal measures to ensure justice to the families of those affected by awarding appropriate punishment to the perpetrators within a period of one year.
The demand charter also asked for a stop to the systematic violence and discrimination against women and children in terms of rape, killing and trafficking and punishment of all the culprits without any delay.
Making a point of the use of vehicles without registration numbers by paramilitary and Indian Army, the charter of demand asked that all vehicles being used by security personnel be registered and allotted numbers and those who violate the norm be punished.
It also asked for political dialogue to be started with armed political organizations by constituting Independent Commissions for Conflict Resolution in the state and also to develop a framework on pre-negotiation, negotiation and post negotiation with special monitoring mechanisms with due representation of civil society and NGOs and also by engaging International Community as a Third Party to the negotiation process to settle the long standing political conflict in the state.
Calling for discussions and debates on the proposed India-European Union Free Trade Agreement in the Parliament and State Assemblies, the charter of demands have also called for strong punishment of those guilty of being involved in smuggling drugs, kidnapping, carrying arms without license and human trafficking.
It also stated that access to International Financial Support for self determination and control over the natural wealth of Manipur and over the gains from the investment in exploiting it, would have to be fixed in the state constitution, together with mechanisms of monitoring the implementation of it.
Detain illegal drug and arms smuggling routes and the cartel leaders, it said.
It has also demanded for the revival of the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and constitute a committee to examine the functioning of the Commission in Manipur at the earliest.