AFSPA is license to kill and must be repealed immediately: North East Dialogue Forum

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By Grace Jajo

IMPHAL, March 19: `AFSPA is a free killing license and should be immediately repealed to restore human dignity and human rights. It is indeed a symbol of oppression!` this was a collective chorus stated during the press conference organized by the North East Dialogue Forum.

Heartfelt testimonies from Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Bodos related to impunity under the AFSPA were shared. A Lotha Naga widow woefully narrated the rudely murder of her husband even during ceasefire peace time, without any regard for Human Rights.

A teacher from Assam related about the numerous occasions, when the Army would just walked in to their village and pick up several people repeatedly, with a manufacture affiliation to the non state actors. He describes the authority of the draconian law to torture innocent civilians and even disable them on the slightest pretext.

Anthony Debbarma, the indigenous Tripuri, questions the paradox and validity of extending the AFSPA, when the state has been awarded for `Bringing Peace` by the Government of India. He highlights the selective discrimination of declaring only indigenous areas in Tripura as Disturb Areas and accordingly applying the AFSPA only in indigenous belts. `In recent times, systematic and selective elimination of indigenous brilliant students, student leaders, political leaders and intellectual is happening under the guise of AFSPA.

We say this with utmost evidence from our documentation of 50 villages which were completely wiped out and several other cases related to AFSPA. Such blatant violation of Human Rights were in most cases committed by the Tripura State Rifles and the Tripura Police forces who are legally outside the mandate of AFSPA.

Despite the Supreme Court order, there are still schools occupied by the armies and army camps in the vicinity of the schools. In such a situation, it is impossible to rule out the fact that the governments is using the AFSPA thereby the impunity of the armies to silence the voice of dissent in their pursuit of anti-indigenous economic policies.` further alleged Anthony.

The forum plans to explore the intervention of the Prime Minister`™s office and the Home Minister`™s office and the United Nations Rapportuer on conflict/terrorism. They further hopes to pursue the International Commission on Jurist too. ` We are encourage by the support of 80 countries within the United Nations for the repeal of AFSPA` states Nobokishor on a hopeful note.

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