AFSPA deprives NE people the right to Indian nationhood

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IMPHAL, March 9: The continued imposition of special Acts in the North Eastern states including in Manipur implies that the Indian government does not consider the people of the region as Indians, India needs to accept Manipur as part of it even before raising questions about the armed movement in the region.

This was said by senior journalist, Irengbam Arun during a one day public meeting on ‘International Humanitarian Law and Armed Conflict in the context of Manipur’ held today at the Lai Community Hall, Lilong Chajing.

The meeting was organised by the All Lilong Clubs Organization, Lilong Chajing and North East Dialogue Forum.

If the centre has imposed the dreaded Act in the state just to contain the armed movement in the state, than why is it not imposed in states that are facing the Maoist issue, Irengbam Arun lamented.

By lifting the Act from only seven assembly segments of Imphal, state chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has weakened the people’s unity and strength, he asserted.

If he is a true leader of the state, he would have long lifted the Act from other parts of the state, Arun continued.

He further observed that the seven segments are not even areas largely affected by the Act.

NEDF coordinator, Adom Rangla spoke on ‘International Humanitarian Law’.

He said Manipur was an independent nation after the British left, but on October 15, 1949, Manipur became a part of India.

Soon enough debates on how Manipur became a part of India were raised and the movement for sovereignty was born, he said.

If Manipur is in war, that both the state actors and the non-state actors should follow the guidelines of law of war or international humanitarian law, he observed.

Further questioning the prolonged imposition of the AFSPA in the state, he demanded why the Act was imposed even before the state had witnessed the birth of armed movements, said Naharol Thoudang editor, Khoirom Loyalakpa. He asserted this proves that there is a secret policy to suppress the people of Manipur.

Citing that the Jammu and Kasjmir chief minister Omar Abdullah had challenged the centre over the repeal of the Act while declaring that the continued imposition of AFSPA can disintegrate the nation, he asked why the Manipur chief minister can’t question its imposition, asserted Loyalakpa.

Manipur High Court advocate L Sivananda said that the ‘draconian Act called AFSPA” has violated Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which is one of the most important fundamental rights provided to Indian citizens.

People need to understand this draconian act and its consequences to fight for its repeal, he observed.

Advisor, ALCO and vice-president AMUCO, Waipokpam Gonendra; president of ALCO, Sanasom Madhumangol and secretary of ALCO Arambam Bhumendro Singh also attended as presidium members and resource persons.

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