This is perhaps the first real test of the BJP led Government. In asserting that they are against any attempt to militarise tribal areas in the State, the All Naga Students’s Association is delivering a damning statement on how the State security personnel, particularly the police commandos, have earned notoriety of being a trigger happy bunch of armed men and this is something which the new Government should not take lightly. How the State Government goes about with its plan to raise a Highway Protection Force remains to be seen, but the stand of ANSAM is more than indicative that the Nagas of Manipur have still not forgotten some of the ugly incidents of the past. The question now is, is ANSAM against only the State security forces ? How about the Central security forces which have been stationed in the hill areas ? Will ANSAM not raise any objection if the proposed Highway Protection Force is to be composed of only Central security forces ? If ANSAM is so deadly against the State security forces, then why has it not raised a high pitched movement against the continued imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the hill areas, particularly in the Naga dominated areas ? True, the student organisation is against the continued imposition of the said Army Act, but has it raised any concerted movement against this Act in the recent past ? It was not ANSAM but the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights which filed the petition against AFSPA in the Supreme Court of India way back in 1982/83.
So not raising that vocal a stand against AFSPA but asserting that it is against any move to ‘militarise’ tribal areas via the deployment of a Highway Protection Force may not be the right way to go about it. And it would do good for everyone to remember that the proposed Highway Protection Force is to ensure free movement of vehicles on the National Highways and should not be seen as a move to militarise tribal areas. The conduct of the State security forces is the same all over Manipur and should not be seen only along ‘this area’ and ‘that area’ line. It would also do good for all to note that the BT Road incident of July 23, 2009 happened right in the middle of Imphal city and most of the fake encounter cases filed in the Supreme Court of India by EEVFAM had to do with killings all over Manipur by the security forces. Too early to say how things will proceed from here, but it would do good for the BJP led Government to take note of the stand echoed by ANSAM. The stand of ANSAM should also serve as a reminder to the State Government that the State security personnel, particularly the police commandos need to be reined in and told in no uncertain terms that the guns they are given is not a license to shoot and kill or maim.
Source: The Sangai Express