War crime public meeting condemns extrajudicial executions

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IMPHAL, March 12 (NNN): The case of Oinam Naga village of Senapati district where under the code name Operation Bluebird, the Assam Rifles had committed gross human rights violations in 1987, was echoed strongly today during a public meeting at Konthoujam Kangjeibung in Imphal West district.

The North-East Dialogue Forum (NEDF) in collaboration with United Club Organization-Konthoujam and Konthoujam Meira Paibi (women folk) has conducted a public meeting on War Crime and Crimes against Humanity.

Speakers of the event said people experience the kind of human rights violation both from Indian Union and Manipur state security forces and armed non-state actors. Extrajudicial executions meaning killing of innocent civilians and armed cadres after apprehending are serious human rights violations committed by the Indian State, the meet said.

“Besides, many women were raped, raped and murdered, molested and killed by the government’s security forces. Please allow us to take the example of `Operation Bluebird` that was carried out in and around Oinam and its surrounding 30 villages of Senapati district in Manipur for nearly four months in 1987 by 29th Battalion of Assam Rifles. According to the report of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), 27 innocent civilians were killed, of which 21 were shot dead after torture and the rest were died due to forced starvation, denial of medical aids in the concentration camp, and shock of torture, three women were raped, five women were sexually molested, two women were forced to get delivered child before the public view and pregnant women were forced to use as potter, 340 persons were beaten and tortured in third degree methods of various inhuman manners, 96 persons were arrested and detained at their camp for weeks in inhuman condition, 125 residential houses were burnt and 172 houses were dismant
led, 10 churches and 6 schools were dismantled in the operation,” the statement from the organisers said.

It said the people in the North East India have been living more than five decades under the shadow of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, which the people of this part of the world termed as – a draconian law which allows the Government Security Forces to kill, torture and rape with immunity and impunity. Under this Act, all security forces are given unrestricted and unaccounted power to carry out their operations, once an area is declared disturbed. Even a non-commissioned officer is granted the right to shoot to kill based on mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so in order to “maintain the public order”. Initially the Act was enacted in the parliament to suppress the activities of one of the insurgency groups (only one armed opposition group was operating then) operating in the Northeast but in true sense, the Act can do nothing to these insurgency groups except violating the fundamental human rights of the innocent civilian.

According to the organisers, Amnesty International in 1997 defined AFSPA, 1958 as “Undeclared Emergency with undefined reasons for unlimited period of time.” Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005) report stated that “the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness.” And therefore, the committee recommended that “The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, should be repealed.”

The organisers in the statement said the 2nd Administrative Reformed Commission (2007), Justice Verma Commission and Justice Santosh Hegde Commission had all recommended for the repeal of AFSPA, 1958. Ms. Pillay the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, R.N. Ravi, the Retd. Director 1B, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defender, Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial Execution, Special Rapporteur on VAW visited India and North East State and strongly recommended for the repeal AFSPA. 16 Treaty Bodies Special Mechanism of UN had also recommended to repeal AFSPA since 1997 but India has failed to act responsibly till date.

“Therefore, both Indian armed forces and armed non-state actors are called upon to respect and implement International Humanitarian Laws, Geneva Conventions 1949’s common Article 3 and Additional Protocol II of 1977. It is surprising that India violates the International Humanitarian Laws and Geneva Conventions. War should be fought under International Humanitarian Law. In war or violent armed conflict, both the conflicting parties should allow humanitarian services, protect women and children and allow reaching the medicine/health care, food etc. to the people. However, citing as an example in the case of Sajik Tampak Operation, 2004 Indian Army put restriction on purchase of food items and other essential commodities like medicines and setting limitation of rice quantities to be purchased by a family as per family members and number of days etc. ,” the statement from the organisers said.

Md Rabi Khan, Advocate- High Court of Manipur, Mr. W. Samjai, President All Manipur Working journalist Union (AMWJU), Dr.Chinglen Maisnam, Asst. Professor, Manipur University and Sobita Mangsatabam, Secretary- Women Action for Development (WAD), Konthoujam Maniphar Singh, President United Club Organization and Konthoujam Angou Singh were present at the event as presidium members cum resource persons. Around 300 hundred people were participated in the meeting.

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