Activists demand repeal of AFSPA over civilian killings in Nagaland

The AFSPA gives the central government power to declare certain regions, or even an entire state, as a ‘disturbed area'.

The movement against Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other Repressive Laws (MURL) a group of activists against such laws, on Tuesday, condemned the killing of civilians by Security Forces in Nagaland and demanded the immediate repeal of AFSPA in all border states.

“Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA), is the main reason for the uncontrolled military powers for detention, torture, destruction, killing and execution of Indian citizens in North East and other border states,” said President, MURL, Justice BG Kolse Patil, speaking to the media on Tuesday, in Mumbai.

The latest incident of human rights violation was witnessed in Nagaland, wherein 13 innocent persons were killed and some were seriously injured without any significant cause. The incident took place when the villagers were returning home in a pick-up truck after the day’s work at a coal mine. 

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The president of Oting Village Students’ Union (OVSU), Keapwang Konyak, said, “The incident came to light after the victims didn’t return home as usual. Six persons were killed on the spot while four others were killed after the volunteers set the vehicle on fire,”. 

In 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered an investigation into 1,528 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings between 2000 and 2012 by the security forces and police in neighbouring Manipur, another state under AFSPA.  The law has proved to have a “great potential for large-scale human rights violations”, said the press release. 

“This law caused enormous suffering for thousands of innocent people, as armed forces grossly misused the provisions and killed, raped, and abducted civilians and destroyed their properties,” it added.

The AFSPA gives the central government power to declare certain regions, or even an entire state, as a ‘disturbed area’. This can be done by the central government without the consent of the state government thus breaching federal rights.

The people of the states under AFSPA and human rights groups across India have been demanding for long an unconditional withdrawal of AFSPA in the interest of human rights and basic decency. 

Justice Kolse Patil called upon all parties and groups that have concerns for justice and peace in our border regions, to build joint struggles till the repressive law was repealed.

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