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

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.