Skip to main content

Abrogate "widely misused" armed forces special powers Act: New York Times editorial to Narendra Modi

By Our Representative
In a scathing critique of India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which came in for sharp criticism recently from Amnesty International in its detailed report on how it is being widely misused in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the New York Times (NYT) has editorially asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to abrogate it immediately.
Titled “End Abuses by the Indian Military”, the editorial of one of the world’s most influential dailies, says, “Since 1958, AFSPA has fostered a culture of impunity among India’s armed forces that has led to repeated, documented human rights abuses against Indian civilians in designated ‘disturbed areas’.”
Referring to Amnesty International report, it adds, “In the wake of fresh calls to repeal the law, it’s time for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do what prior governments have not: stand up to India’s military, which has long resisted any modification of the act — and move to have AFSPA repealed.”
Giving background the Act, the editorial says, “The law was enacted to fight a separatist insurgency in Nagaland and was later applied to restive areas in several states in the northeast. In 1990, a version of the act was applied to the state of J&K. Rather than help quell revolt, AFSPA has hardened resentments against a military that has too often abused the extraordinary powers conferred by the Act.”
The NYT says, “The Act, which can be activated by the federal government or the states, gives soldiers wide powers to kill, arrest, search and detain. It also grants them civil immunity from prosecution and punishment.”
The paper adds, “India’s army, which is empowered to try soldiers in military courts for crimes against civilians, has rarely done so. The result is a shocking incidence of rapes, murders, torture, summary detention and disappearances of civilians in areas where the law applies.”
“This month”, the editorial says, “Amnesty International published a damning report on abuses in J&K, and called again for an end to the law. Indian legal authorities and human rights groups, as well as international groups and the United Nations, have urged repeal.”
NYT recalls, “In 2005, following the rape and murder of a woman in Manipur, a government-appointed committee said the law should be amended or replaced ‘in consonance with the obligations of the government towards protection of Human Rights’.” Then, “In 2008, Human Rights Watch published a major report on AFSPA calling for repeal.”
The paper adds, “In 2012, the United Nations said the act ‘clearly violates international law’. The year after, a former chief justice of India, JS Verma, chairman of a committee charged with reviewing Indian law after the brutal rape of a student in New Delhi, said there was an ‘imminent need’ to assess continued use of the law.”
Advising the Modi government “not wait to act”, the daily praises Tripura, whose federal government in May repealed AFSPA, saying it was no longer necessary. Even the Peoples Democratic Party, which governs J&K in alliance with the BJP, is calling for repealing it, the paper adds.

Comments

TRENDING

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.

High on aesthetics, this 'pro-Naxal' Punjabi poet shunned sloganeering

By Harsh Thakor*  Surjit Patar, one of Punjab’s top progressive poets, whose life journey symbolised crusade against oppression, died of cardiac arrest at his residence on Barewal Road in Ludhiana, on 11 May 2024, at the age of 79. In Barnala, on June 9th, a gathering of around 10,000 persons for all walks of life was staged in his memory, by the Gursharan Singh Lok Kala Salam Kafla. An award was presented to members of Patar’s family.