Lok Raj Sangathan (LRS)
Manipur Students Association Delhi (MSAD)
People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)
Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathana (PMS)
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)
Forum for Democratic Initiative (FDI)
Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU)
All India Student Association (AISA)
Democratic Students Union (DSU)
Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha (HNES)
Ambedkar Students Organisation
and many other organizations and individual
July 15, 2005
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Honourable Prime Minister,
Government of India
Subject: Urgent action on the part of your government on the following:
- Immediate, expeditious, and public trial against the Assam Rifles personnel involved in the custodial rape and killing of Thangjam Manorama.
- Immediate and complete repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
- The Provisions of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act should not be incorporated within any other law in India.
The Report of the Justice C. Upendra Commission on the custodial death of Th. Manorama should be immediately made public.
- The report of the National Review Committee on Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 headed by Justice (Retd) BP Jeevan Reddy should be immediately made public.
The struggle against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA) 1958 has been going on ceaselessly despite prolonged military brutalities in the form of civilian harassments, involuntary disappearances, custodial deaths, mass killings, fake encounters and rapes. The struggle has reached a new height with the emergence of collective concern throughout India and abroad to repeal this draconian Act.
In this long struggle, various forms of protests have been registered and the nude protest of Manipuri mothers on 15 July 2004 at the Kangla gate, Imphal, marked the extremes of people’s capacity to protest militarism. 15 July is an important date in the ongoing movement against AFSPA.
On the first anniversary of the Manipuri mothers’ unique protest, people across the country, from various walks of life, belonging to various organisations fighting for complete repeal of this Act have resolved to strengthen our struggle. Despite the year long countrywide public protest against the custodial rape and killing of Thangjam Manorama, the Government of India has delayed justice. The Calcutta forensic lab found evidence of sexual assault on Manorama Devi, and that this happened not only after the arrest warrant was issued, but when she was admittedly in the custody of Assam rifles clearly indicate that Manorama was sexually assaulted and killed under custody. This fact cannot be whitewashed or forgotten, however long the state delays action.
We wish to remind you that following the widespread struggle for scrapping AFSPA in 2004 you had yourself termed this Act “draconian” and “inhuman” and had set up a committee to review the Act.
We understand that the Committee under Justice B.P Jeevan Reddy has now submitted its report to the Home Minister. Although the report has not yet been made public, it has been reported in the media that the Review Committee has recommended to the UPA Government “the Act be repealed but its provisions be incorporated into the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for uniform application across the country”. If this is the case, this is an extremely dangerous and unacceptable step. We demand that the report be made available at the earliest, for public discussion and reaction.
In the case of T. Manorama, the Assam High Court has ruled that the Home Ministry must take care of the recommendations of the Upendra Commission and that it should be made public in line with the citizen’s right to information.
The collective struggle against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 shall not rest unless the Act is totally scrapped and justice is done to Manorama and other victims of the Act.
As a part of the collective struggle against AFSPA, we demand the following:
1. Immediate, expeditious, and public trial against the Assam Rifles personnel involved in the custodial rape and killing of Thangjam Manorama
2. Immediate and complete repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
3. The Provisions of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act should not be incorporated within any other law in India.
4. The Report of the Justice C. Upendra Commission on the custodial death of Th. Manorama should be immediately made public.
5. The report of the National Review Committee on Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 headed by Justice (Retd) BP Jeevan Reddy should be immediately made public.
Signed and approved by all the organisations and individuals participating in the demonstration.
This Petition was read out in Hindi and English to the gathering inside the Parliament Street Police Station (New Delhi), where the demonstrators were held after their arrest. The Petition was approved by the gathering consisting of students, teachers, human rights activists, women and youth from various schools, colleges, and localities in Delhi, surrounded by police.