IMPHAL, November 6: A day long fast and satygraha was staged today at Samata Sthal (opposite Raj Ghat) in New Delhi demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA).The day long demonstration was attended by representatives of several organizations and individuals.
The demonstrators also submitted a memorandum to the President of India seeking for repealing of the Act.
The memorandum said “The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is one of the most draconian legislations used by Govt. of India to enslave and oppress peoples under the garb of fighting separatism”.
“For the past sixty years the North-East, and for almost two decades Kashmir, both have been virtually under army rule. This rule by the army has had a drastic effect on the daily life of the average citizen residing in the North-East and Kashmir”, it continued.
“There is a state of de-facto abrogation of fundamental rights, including the all-important right to life, and large-scale encroachment by the army on the life and liberty of the citizens in the above-mentioned areas. AFSPA violates the fundamental constitutional rights of right to life, liberty, equality, freedom of speech and expression, peaceful assembly, moving freely, practice of any profession, protection against arbitrary arrest and freedom of religion enshrined in Articles 21, 14, 19, 22 and 25 of the Constitution”, the memorandum said.
AFSPA has been used in these regions for thousands of deaths, custodial deaths/rape, torture, encirclement of the civilian population, sadistic combing operations, looting of private citizen`s property, etc. Thousands of youth have simply disappeared – another euphemism for encounter deaths, it said.
Irom Sharmila has been on a fast for the revocation of AFSPA for 12 years since 5th November 2000. Her body also has become a site of contest for legality and illegality of the Indian state.
Indian state, whose constitution guarantees right to life and liberty also kills, rapes and murders thousands of women every passing year.
Irom Sharmila has been arrested, rearrested and force-fed many times ostensibly to make her live, this was done by the authorities to stop her from dying – invoking the attempt to suicide of the Indian penal code.
On the other hand, the Indian security forces go on killing, raping and torturing women every day. This exposes the farce of legality of the Indian system which has been imposed on the body of Irom Sharmila.
The memorandum ended with the demand for repeal of AFSPA at earliest.
The memorandum was signed by Shashi Sonwane National Coordinator, Yuva Bharat, Ashok Bharat Rastra Nirman Abhiyan Sarv Seva Sangh, Prof. V.P. Shrivastav, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Dr Malem Ningthouja Campaign for Peace & Democracy, Manipur, Dr AK Arun, Bangladesh Bharat Pakistan Peoples Forum, Neeraj Singh, Socialist Yuvjan Sabha, Khangembam Kamaljit, Representative, Kangla Group, Elangbam Samananda vice president, Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi, Babloo Loitongbam, Human Rights Alert, Khangembam Anandi, Just Peace Foundation, Somorendro Khangembam, general secretary, European Manipuri Association (EMA), Ashish Gupta, PUDR / CDRO, Birju Nayak, Lok Raj Sangathan.
Source: Kangla Online