12th December 2004
A team of National Campaign Committee for Repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from New Delhi, visited Imphal between 7-10 December 2004. The team met the member of Apunba Lup and attended the 2-day convention organized by the Lup. We also met the officials including Puplic Relations Officer (Defence Ministry), Director General of Police – Manipur, and people from all walks of life to get an idea o the functioning of AFSPA.
The team met Irom Sharmila and family of Th. Manorama Devi and Pebam Chittranjan. We are deepely distressed that after 4-years of fast by Sharmila, which is unprecedented in the history of India, the government did not recognise the courage and conviction behind her sacrifice and consider repeal of the Act. We are deepely moved by her conviction and hope that her struggle will succeed.
The team investigated two recent incident of killing by armed forces, which indicate the draconian nature of the Act. The first involved killing of a 20-year old boy, Tej Kumar on 9 March 2004. He was picked up from a play-ground by Assam Rifles (AR) in full view of his friends. The next day his body was left by AR at a far away police station in Chairenthong. No arrest memo was given while picking up.
The second incident involved killing of a 75-yesr old retired school teacher L.D.Ringtuiwan, in his village Bungte Chiru. In the shootout by the Assam Rifles, his 70-year old wife was shot in the thigh. His grandson and neighbour were beaten up. In this incident the Assam Rifles team had crossed two districts to carry out the operation, and the local police was not informed as they are required to do as per the Supreme Court guidelines. The army claimed to be chasing UNLF militants, while the villagers were certain that there were no UG activists in their village.
The team concludes that it is not possible to give a human face to this act, which is draconian and against human rights to its very core. We demand immediate repeal of the Act and plan to intensify the campaign all across the country.
National Campaign Committee team:
Bijju Nayak, Debashish, Nandini, Pravin, Mona Das, Manisha