- NET Web Desk
Amid the ongoing clamour against the killings of innocent civilians in Oting Village of Nagaland due to incessant firing by the Indian Armed Forces, and protests demanding the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 been escalating across Northeastern regions, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) during its two-day sitting camp & public open hearing asserted that constitutionality of AFSPA can’t be discussed.
On being asked about AFSPA Act & its constitutionality, the NHRC Chairperson Justice Arun Mishra stated, “We cannot generalize any such issue like this. We can’t say that because of this Act any human rights violation is taking place. If any particular case comes then we look at that case.”
Justice Mishra observed that deciding the constitutionality of AFSPA is a responsibility of the Supreme Court. “We can’t discuss the constitutionality of any Act here, that is for the Supreme Court to decide. Further, it is for the government to review whether it should be applied and in which district, at what particular time.”
The Chairperson further added that in a civilised society like India, there is no room for fake encounters.
“There is no room for instant justice in this country and law has to take its own course. A person who is guilty has to be tried in court and punished in accordance with the law,” he added.
Justice Mishra highlighted the same, while addressing the mediapersons, during a two-day sitting camp & public open hearing held on December 16 & 17 in Guwahati.
During this event, the Commission took-up 40 cases in Open Hearing. It includes 23 cases from Assam, Manipur – 13 cases, Arunachal Pradesh – 1 cases, and Nagaland – 3 cases. Sikkim representative was also present at the hearing but there was no case from the concerned northeastern state.
Its pertinent to note that after the Nagaland Oting massacre, protests from different quarters of Northeastern regions commenced to escalate demanding immediate repeal of AFSPA from Northeast.
Besides, few Northeastern leaders have also demanded its repeal and urged the Centre to look into the matter.
The Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh became the latest leader to join the clamour. Earlier, the Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma & Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio also demanded its repeal.
On December 4th & 5th, 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 unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of botched 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).
Its worthy to note that 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.