afspa-manipur.jpgOn the invitation of Just Peace Foundation, Robin Blackei (MPP), Prof S Tikendra (BJP), Lokendra (Trinamool Congress), N Sundari (RJD), Kh Debabrata (MSCP) and L Sotinkumar (CPI) represented their respective parties at a one-day political convention on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, at Classic Hotel on 14th January, 2012. Parties that were invited but did not respond include the Congress Party, CPI(M), Janata Dal-S and Nationalist Congress Party.

Delivering the keynote address, Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Dr. Bimol Akoijam regretted that in the context of Manipur, elections conducted every five years have been reduced to a farce, with the continuation of army rule and the AFSPA. Accusing political leaders of lack of initiative to revoke AFSPA from Manipur, where a number of innocent people have fallen prey to the Act, he suggested that the public demand redressal measures from their elected representatives. The Foundation’s managing trustee, Kh. Anandi, and Senior Citizens Society president N. Binoy also addressed the gathering.

What really is the stand of different parties towards the colonial fascistic legislation called AFSPA, whose repeal has become the number one political demand of the people of Manipur?

The Communist Ghadar Party of India, in a recently published statement, has called on all serious political forces in Manipur to “preserve and develop their unity around the most immediate demand, which is to permanently repeal AFSPA and end army rule, returning all troops to their barracks.” CGPI believes that the perpetuation of fascistic army rule and denial of the right to national self-determination are the source of the problem in Manipur.

The election manifestoes of the Communist Party of India, CPI(M) and the BJP all promise to uphold the “territorial integrity of Manipur”, but they do not say anything about the right to national self-determination.

In its manifesto, the BJP has said that it would “seek to bring the law and order situation to such a state that AFSPA is not needed.” This is an indirect way of saying that AFSPA is needed today because of the “law and order” situation. It is a justification for AFSPA, not a demand for its immediate repeal. It is turning truth on its head, mixing up cause and effect. Perpetuation of AFSPA is one of the main causes of the state of lawlessness in Manipur.

The promises listed in the manifesto of CPI include safeguarding the territorial integrity of Manipur, removal of AFSPA, resolving insurgency and bringing improvement in the law and order situation.

CPI(M) promises to focus on women’s empowerment, child rights, education and issues pertaining to the farmers.

LRS North-east Correspondent

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