Skip to main content

Armed Forces Special Powers Act extended in Arunachal Pradesh, rights activists want to know reason

By Our Representative
In a move that has raised the eyebrows of human rights activists, Government of India has extended the labeling of the districts of Tirap, Changlag and Longding in Arunachal Pradesh as 'disturbed areas' under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) for a further period of six months with effect from October 1, 2014. The Ministry of Home Affairs notification dated September 20, 2014 claims that the law and order situation in these districts has been “reviewed” and “violent activities of insurgents” were to have “remained unchanged.” AFSPA has long been regarded as “draconian”, as it does not protect citizens from “atrocities” by security forces.
The Central notification said, “The factions of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) continue to indulge in inter-factional clashes. The factions of NSCN also interfere in the political matters by intimidating leaders for monetary help. Apart from underground Naga outfits, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and certain Manipur based underground outfits continue to use these districts as conduit for movement from/to their camps in Myanmar and also for trafficking of arms and ammunitions.”
Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh were declared as disturbed areas under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 on September 17, 1991 vide this Ministry’s Notification No. 603(E) dated 17.9.1991, as, in the opinion of the Government of India, these districts were in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power was necessary. Longding district (carved out of Tirap district) was also declared as ‘disturbed area’ vide this Ministry’s notification dated 30th July, 2012.
The declaration of Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh as ‘disturbed areas’ was last reviewed in March 2014, the notification recalls, adding, the validity of declaration of these three districts of Arunachal Pradesh as ‘disturbed areas’ was extended up to September 30, 2014.
Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) says, while the reason given for extending the armed forces Act is “continued violence committed by 'insurgent' groups”, it should be remembered that under AFSPA no part of India's territory can be declared 'disturbed area' for more than six months.”
Nayak says, “The ground situation has to be reviewed every six months to determine whether there is sufficient reason for extension of the labeling”. Therefore, he adds, “RTI activists -- in particular those living in or working on issues related to Arunachal Pradesh -- might like to make RTI applications with the Ministry of Home Affairs to find out the detailed reasons for extending the period of declaration.”
Calling it an “important policy announcement and is also an administrative decision”, Nayak believes, “All affected persons have the right to know detailed reasons and all relevant facts behind this decision under SEction 4(1)(c) and (d) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act).”
It may be recalled that on the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in America, India’s North-Eastern states remembered a 9/11 which changed their history forever -- AFSPA was imposed on undivided Assam on this very day in 1958. The Act gives sweeping powers to security forces in troubled areas, was first imposed to quell the Naga movement for cessation. In 1958, undivided Assam comprised Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
According to top human rights group, Amnesty India International, "The AFSPA has facilitated grave human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, rape and torture and other ill treatment." Citing the report prepared by the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law (popularly referred to as the Justice Verma Committee) , Amnesty has said, "The report included a section on sexual violence in conflict zones, in which the committee said that the AFSPA legitimized impunity for sexual violence, and recommended immediate review of the continuance of the AFSPA in internal areas of conflict."

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.