Imphal Free Press: The debate over Armed Forces Special Powers Act, AFSPA is no longer needed; it should be repealed at the soonest. It is inhuman and as well as redundant as a law.
This was stated by Potsangbam Sonamani, former senior superintendent of police, Kohima, who is also the president of Manipuri Association North East India.
Sonamani was speaking in the North East Consultation on Human Rights, today at the Tribal Research Center hall, Imphal.
The consultation was jointly organised by North East Students’ Organisation, NESO and All Manipur Students’ Union.
Sonamani further said that though the Act has been enacted by the establishment, the greater onus lies with the human right activists and the people.
He also lamented the lukewarm turnout of public during such an important consultative meeting.
Former Chief Minister, Radhabinod Koijam, speaking as the chief guest recounted his experiences with the then Prime Minister, during his short stint as the State Chief Minister regarding the ramification of the Act.
Yambem Laba, human right activist and journalist, recalled how the human right movement took a definitive shape in the State.
He also recollected how he during his college days petitioned against the Act before the Supreme Court of India, along with some of his friends.
He appealed the members of NESO and AMSU to be firm with their convictions.
Samuel Jyrwa, Chairman NESO, termed AFSPA a manifestation of racial discrimination against the North East people and emphasised on the need to repeal such a draconian law. He also pointed out that such consultation will be held in all the seven sister States of the NE before the next Parliament session.
After a thread bare discussion on the genesis and politics of AFSPA, adverse gender impact of the armed conflict and the increasing ‘securitisation of development’ in the Northeast region, the consultation unanimously decided to pressurise the MPs from the Northeast to push for the repeal of AFSPA in Parliament.
Sinam Prakash secretary general NESO in his keynote address pointed out that despite of internal and external democratic pressure to repeal AFSPA the government of India is turning a blind eye to the issue for too long.
The technical session was a chaired by Lokendra Arambam, senior citizen. Seram Rojesh, Anjulika Samon and Homen Thagjam presented papers on the Act.