AFSPA Repeal Clamours : Demand Renews After Nagaland Civilian Killings, Earlier Resisted By Assam & Manipur

Posted in Assam, Featured, Manipur, Nagaland, Northeast


  • NET Web Desk

Recent civilian deaths in Oting village of Mon district, Nagaland due to the incessant spraying of bullets by the Indian Armed Forces have once again renewed the voices demanding the Centre to immediately repeal the “Draconian” Law, AFSPA.

Amid the escalating clamour, associated with the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the Northeast India, let’s have a look on the states which earlier resisted it’s implementation.

Just 4 years ago, when the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided to remove certain areas falling under the guidelines of AFSPA, atleast 2 Northeastern states – Assam & Manipur resisted the move, claiming the impending risks of its repeal.

Its worthy to note that both the Centre and State Government based on Article-3 of AFSPA can issue notifications for the concerned Act.

For instance – notifications which was extended in Manipur since 1980, has been issued by the state government.

Its worthy to note that recently the Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh became the latest leader to join the clamour, associated with the repeal of AFSPA.

“We have been demanding its repeal in Manipur. We shall continue to do so,” – asserted Singh.

Earlier, the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio demanded its repeal, citing the same as “Draconian Law”.

According to The Hindu report, a top official claimed that Manipur is one of the northeastern state which is worst-affected with the insurgent groups.

Facing immense threat from Myanmar-based insurgent outfits, the impending risk of militants attacks can be better understood with the recent deadly militant ambush that took place in Manipur’s Churachandpur district on November 13.

The dastardly attack by terrorists on an Assam Rifles convoy took away the lives of 46 Assam Rifles Khuga Battalion Commanding Officer, Colonel Viplab Tripathi, his wife and their 8-year-old son, along with 4 other brave paramilitary personnel – Rfn Suman Swargiary, Rfn Khatnei Konyak, Rfn RP Meena, and Rfn Shyamal Das.

These cowardly attack on security forces in Manipur, brought back memories of the June 2015 Chandel ambush in which a Dogra battalion of the Indian Army lost 18 brave men.

According to The Hindu report, ‘in the case of Assam, the MHA was issuing the “disturbed area” order till 2017. Since then Assam has been renewing the notification every six months, the latest one issued on September 10.’

In case of Assam, the 213th report of the MHA Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs tabled in the Rajya Sabha in July 2019, mentioned about some differences of opinions between the Government of India and the State Government.

“The Committee was also apprised that with regards to the areas to be declared as disturbed areas, in the State of Assam, there was some difference of opinion between the Government of India and the State Government. The Government of Assam through their notification declared the whole State of Assam as disturbed area under AFSPA because they have got concurrent power. The State Government of Assam had explained that it was slightly early to reduce the area under the AFSPA notification,” – stated the report.

These threats emerged especially through banned militant outfits, such as – United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Besides, threats from Islamic terrorist groups – Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) also posed threats to the northeastern state.

Its worthy to note that on Saturday last, at least 13 civilians identified as coal-miners were gunned down by security forces in Mon district of Nagaland. Referring the killings as “unfortunate”, the Indian Army confirmed the incident.

“The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” – the Indian Army in its statement said.

The unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of army operation, which mistook the civilians as insurgents from the Yung Aung faction of the banned militant outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K).

On June this year, the Centre had declared Nagaland as “Disturbed Area” and further extended the operation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for 6 more months. The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.

Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, asserts that once declared “disturbed”, the area has to maintain the status quo for a minimum of three months. Under this act, in a “disturbed” area, an officer has full power to warn, or open fire and other kinds of forces against the person who is acting against law.

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