CSCHR lauds Sharmila’s release verdict

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IMPHAL, August 20: The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN (CSCHR), a coalition of twenty-four (24) indigenous peoples’ human rights organisations of Manipur has welcomed the historic and far-sighted judgement and order for the immediate release of Irom Chanu Sharmila as victory of her and the people of Manipur’s moral and political stance.

A statement of the coalition said it would like to stress that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 facilitated extensive militarisation in all indigenous peoples land and territories of Manipur.

The government of India refused to repeal the Act inspite of the recommendations of series of UN human rights bodies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo during her visit to Manipur in 2013.

It said the coalition denounces the serious human rights violations, in particular torture and extrajudicial executions, perpetrated both by the Manipur Police along with the Indian Army under several emergency legislations, including the Armed Forces (Special Powers Act), 1958 all over the State of Manipur.

The justice (retd.) Santosh Hedge headed high-level commission appointed by the Supreme Court of India had already confirmed the fake encounter killings perpetrated both by the Manipur Police and the Indian Army and paramilitary units operating in Manipur, it said while adding that the State government usually resorts to violent repressive measures, including prolonged invocation of Section 144 prohibiting conglomeration of five or more people under Code of Criminal Procedure, arbitrary detention and torture of human rights defenders throughout the State, and in particular within the valley districts.

The CSCHR fully endorses the appeal of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) for the immediate withdrawal of CrPC Section 144 that has been invoked in and around Ukhrul in Manipur for more than a month, and to end all forms of militarization and martial law governance, it said.

The Coalition would like to urge upon the Government of Manipur to immediately withdraw the invocation of sections of CrPC in Ukhrul Town in the last month and the imposition of the similar restrictions in Imphal East and West districts since the last more than one decade, and to end all forms of militarisation in all indigenous peoples territories of Manipur under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and other emergency laws and policies in Manipur, it said.

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