IMPHAL, February 19: Manipur holds the record of having the highest non-conviction rate of crimes against women and children among the states of India.
It was stated by Dr Meisnam Chinglen, asst prof of MU, in a mass rally cum public meeting on crimes against humanity and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 at Lamsang Bazaar on Wednesday.
“In spite of the increasing number of crimes against women and children, the number of convictions of criminals in Manipur is negligible. The root cause being the flawed political system. People of the state must unite and strive together for bringing sustainable changes in the system. The government must bring out a gender budget in the next budget session of the State Assembly,” he said.
Referring to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act as a colonial, dated and genocidal piece of legislation, social scientist Dr Dhanabir said: “The act has no place in a democratic society. Many national and international bodies and individuals have been calling for repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. People have been opposing the act since its inception in 1958.”
He also called upon the masses to continue working towards repealing the AFSPA.
W Basanta, an advocate, stated that right to life, right to justice, right of fair trial and rights against torture are irrevocable rights even in times of war or conflict.
“It is high time that India recognises the existence of an armed conflict in the north east in general and Manipur in particular and allows humanitarian services by respecting the international humanitarian law. Any party involved in the conflict that commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide can be investigated by constituting a Special International Tribunal someday” he said, urging all the parties involved in the present conflict to respect and implement common article 3 of Geneva Conventions, 1949 and Additional Protocol-II of 1977.
He also called upon the armed opposition groups to sign and respect the Deed of Agreements of Geneva Call on the use of Landmine, Violence against Women and Children.
Ima Momon, Co-convener, Sharmila Kanba Lup said that justice has been denied to Sharmila Chanu despite her prolonged struggle for removal of AFSPA from the state.
She has been on a fast continuously for 14 year but unfortunately AFSPA is still imposed in Manipur. The people of the state must come together and jointly struggle for the repeal of AFSPA for our future generations so that they are born free without this draconian law AFSPA, she added.
A rally flagged off by Ima Momon was launched in and around Lamshang Bazar just after the public meeting. In the rally, protesters hold placards and banners displaying “Stop crimes against humanity”, “crime of genocide and war crime in Manipur”, “Stop violence against women and children”, “Down with Indian racism”, “Repeal Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958”, “Stop rape as an instrument of war.”
About 1000 people from various places of the area took part in the rally. The public meeting and rally recommended the respect for and implementation of international humanitarian law, signing and respect for the Deed of Agreements of Geneva Call, and common article 3 of Geneva conventions 1949 and Additional Protocol-II of 1977 by both
India and the armed opposition groups while also demanding justice to the victims who were brutally murdered, raped and assaulted. It urged the government to make charge sheets in all pending cases of crimes against women and children immediately also demanding to stop violence against women and children, to ratify Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and to establish international tribunal court on war crime in Manipur.