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AFSPA Meet In Delhi Offers Fresh Insights

NEW DELHI, Sep 8: Civil society groups and intellectuals deliberated on ‘Assessing the call for repeal of AFSPA‘ today at the India International Centre in New Delhi, imparting fresh in-sights as well as widening the field for the debate over the said Act.

The meet was held at a crucial time when the proposal to review was not tabled during the just concluded Monsoon session of Parliament.

Chief Guest of the day, Member of Parliament Th Meinya from Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, said ‘We are working towards exerting pressure to review the Act.’

Later the MP informed The Sangai Express that at the moment, the focus of amendment or review of AFSPA is on some parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Manipur does not figure prominently as of now.

Former Director General of the BSF EN Rammohan who also served as the Advisor to Governor Ved Marwah during the President’s Rule in 2001, noted, ‘AFSPA is not the issue, leadership is the issue’ while recalling an incident in 1999 at Thoubal in Manipur , where a convoy was ambushed and 6 people were killed in retaliation. He questioned ‘in such a situation how can we say this is because of AFSPA?’

Speaking to this correspondent the former Director General of the BSF and who has a commendable knowledge of Manipur said ‘Even if AFSPA is lifted there will be legislation.’

Regarding review or amendment of AFSPA in some areas like, Budgam, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Bureau Chief of Kashmir Times, Iftikhar Gilani said to this correspondent ‘It will hardly have any effect; these are areas where the Army have no more control.’

Ima L Nganbi Devi a fiery Meira Paibi leader from Manipur also gave an account of the implications and impact of AFPSA, particularly on women and appealed for support to the decade long struggle of Irom Sharmila before the august gathering.

Among others, Yambem Laba, Former Member State Human Rights Commission, Dr Michael Koeberlein of Henrich Boll Foundation, Dr Yaruingam, Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch, Dr N Rammohan, from Centre for Land Warfare Studies, Anjuman Begum of Guwahati University, Ravinder Pal Singh a Defense Analyst and Siddarth Vardharajan, Editor of the Hindu addressed the conference.

A New Delhi resolution was brought out at the end, calling for review of the Act. It also strongly emphasis that the said AFSPA since its implementation for over 60 years had done more harm than solve the problem of the north eastern states as well as Jammu and Kashmir.

The call to repeal the AFSPA 1958 was organized by North East India Women Initiative for Peace in collaboration with Manipur women gun survivor network, Control Arms Foundation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, the Indian Social Action Forum and Kriti.

*Reported by Ninglun Hanghal

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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