It is reported that the Centre has extended the cover of controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Assam and border areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for a period of one year. The decision has been taken by the Home Ministry “after considering the security situation in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. While AFPSA will cover entire Assam, it will be applicable up to 20 km from the borders of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya where insurgent groups are active”.
As per a new notification issued by the Home Ministry on March 27, 2015, all the 10 districts of Arunachal Pradesh bordering the state of Assam have been declared as “Disturbed Area” under Section 3 of AFSPA, 1958, for the next one year. This unilateral declaration of the government that “law and order situation” in these districts is justified is not acceptable to the people of the region and the progressive sections of society at large. LRS condemns this move as totally anti-people and an attack on basic human rights.
According to the Indian state, the districts in Arunachal Pradesh need AFPSA, because the area borders Myanmar, and there are training camps of “terrorists”, and they need to be kept under control with army jackboots, because of the numerous alleged militant groups of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, that have been listed.
There can be no justification whatsoever for declaring AFPSA. This kind of justification for the fascist AFSPA is nothing new. Such justifications have been advanced, ever since September 11, 1958, when AFSPA was first imposed on Assam by the Nehru government. At the present time, AFSPA is in operation in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
Instead of resolving the political and social problems of the states, Army Rule has further aggravated these problems. People have been totally alienated and are viewed with suspicion all the time. It has led to the complete alienation of the people. In this manner, the people are deprived of all rights, including the right to life, peace and security.
The North Eastern region has faced and continues to face a history of systematic violation of human rights, of extra judicial executions carried out by the armed forces, of the rape of women, and the mass humiliation and oppression of a people by a brutal occupation force. This means that one more time, with the Imposition of AFSPA, the state has declared open war on the people of the region. Because, imposing AFPSA means that the armed forces can shoot and kill, with complete impunity. The killers cannot be tried in court or punished. Any area declared as disturbed cannot be brought under judicial review.
We recall the brutal rape and murder of Manorama Devi, and the protest of naked women in front of the Headquarters of the Assam Rifles that followed and how this shook the conscience of the people of the entire country. The entire country demanded in one voice the Repeal of AFSPA.
What did the government do then? The Manmohan Singh government set up the Justice Jeewan Reddy Commission to enquire into the role of AFSPA. The Commission submitted its report to the Government on June 6, 2005, ten years ago. It expressly called for the repeal of the Act and declared that the Act is "a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and instrument of discrimination and high handedness".
The report was left in cold storage for nine years. And just before the home ministry notification of March 27, 2015 on Arunachal Pradesh, the NDA government decided to reject the recommendations of the Jeewan Reddy Commission.
What it clearly proves is that successive governments are unwilling to work out a political solution to the political and social problems of the North East and Kashmir. Therefore, these problems have been converted into “law and order” problems, thus paving the way for fascist army rule on an unwilling people. This attitude reflects ruling with a typical colonial imperialist style.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls on all people of conscience to stand for the rights of our people, to unitedly raise the voice for the Repeal of the fascist AFSPA. We must unite with the people of the region in this just struggle for the repeal of AFPSA.