Women vendors observe ‘Invisible 9/11’ to protest 56-years of AFSPA


olutions inlcuding taking up intensive mobilization of the masses of NE to oppose this draconian law and the struggle against the Act by linking up with other peoples’ movements in the region

The women vendors observed the day with a silent protest around 1:30pm at the keithel premises.

Keeping their lips covered with black cloths, they sat on the stairs of the keithel under the banner “Stop State terrorism, 56 years of AFSPA is not temporary measure.”

Meanwhile, a panel discussion on the issue was also organised later in the evening at the Manipur Press Club which was converted to a press meet after the panellists failed to turn up.

The press meet was attended by Tezpur Gurukul CBSE School academic head Barnali Sarma Baruah, advocate Alakananda Kakati, Just Peace Foundation managing trustee Anandi; Just Peace Foundation member Irom Shekharjit; Maharaja Budha Chandra College professor Dr Homen Thangjam and research scholar Seram Rojesh.

Speaking at the conference, advocate Alakananda said every North Eastern State should join in Irom Chanu Sharmila’s movement to repeal AFSPA-1958.

The Act has been time and again misused by the security forces, she said.

Barnali Sarma condemning the Act said that the draconian AFSPA is acting against human interest.

She expressed that Sharmila’s demand is very much fundamental and all sections of the community must unite and support her.

She said AFSPA-1958 imposed in the NE states of India has totally hindered human rights.

All we have here is ‘electoral democracy’ said Dr Homen Thangjam during the press meet.

Every place where this draconian Act is imposed has suffered directly or indirectly. This Act has inflicted a fear psychosis amongst the general populace, he said.

Not only are the people of the region facing human rights violation under the draconian Act, but the region is at the same time losing the natural resources, he said.

Just Peace Foundation member Shekharjit said sit in protests and conventions were held at Meghalaya, Tripura, Guwahati and Bodo inhabitant areas of Assam against the draconian Act today.

Meanwhile, To recall the presidential assent given to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act on September 11, 1958, a gathering of different civil societies of Northeast region was held today at Guwahati.

The organisations present were Centre for Research and Advocacy, Human Rights Alert, Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti, WingG-India, North East Dialogue Forum, Borok People Human Rights Organisation, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, People’s Right to Information and Development Implementing Society of Mizoram, according to a statement from HRA.

The statement said eminent personalities of the region like Prof Apurba Kr Baruah, Advocate Bijon Mahajan, writer and social activist Kaka Iralu, Dr Prasenjit Biswas, Babloo Loitongbam, Anjuman Ara Begum and Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta among others deliberated on various aspects of the imposition and continuation of AFSPA at the meeting.

The speakers highlighted on the horrendous stories of atrocities committed by the armed forces of the Union of India, including aerial bombing, burning down of villages, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and inhumane degrading treatment etc., under the impunity provided by the AFSPA, added the statement.

Further the statement continued that the deliberations emphasised on the fact that rape and other forms of sexual violence have been used as weapons of masculine militarisation under the Act, adding that the AFSPA is increasingly used to gag and subvert the democratic voices against the unsustainable, predatory and anti-people mega dams and other development projects.

It added that the gathering deeply felt the need to liberate the upcoming generations from the inter-generational trauma inflicted by the militarised state of exception under AFSPA. The gathering lamented on the fact that various officials Commissions and Committees set up by the Government of India has also unanimously recommended the repeal of AFSPA, but nothing has been done so far in this regard.

It maintained that AFSPA violates not only the international human rights standards but even the international humanitarian law. The gathering unanimously agreed to take up intensive moblisation of the masses of the Northeast to oppose the draconian law. In the same regard, it was also agreed to constitute a Northeast platform for a broader coordination and coalition of various human rights groups, civil society groups, peoples’ movements at both regional as well as at all-India level by going beyond ethnic, tribal and community affiliations, added the statement.


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