Centre’s decision welcomed, but AFSPA should be canceled: Irom Sharmila

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Kolkata: Rights activist Irom Sharmila, who was on a 16-year hunger strike demanding repeal of AFSPA, welcomed the Centre’s decision to reduce the areas covered by the Act in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur but He maintained that “strict, colonial law” should be fully reversed.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced a reduction in the number of troubled areas in the three northeastern states where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 is being implemented along with Jammu and Kashmir.

Sharmila, known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, called AFSPA an oppressive law and said it was never a solution to the insurgency.

“India is a democratic country. How long will we continue to push for this colonial law? Why do people suffer because of it? Millions of rupees are wasted in the name of fighting the insurgency that will be used for the overall development of the Northeast. Sharmila, who ended her marathon hunger strike in 2016, said AFSPA was an obstacle to development.

The Centre’s decision comes three months after it formed a high-level committee to look into the possibility of removing AFSPA from Nagaland, where security forces shot dead 14 civilians in December last year over a misidentification case. Was beaten to death, causing widespread outrage.

The law and order situation in Manipur is not so bad that AFSPA has to be enforced. Only bureaucrats and politicians benefit from its implementation. This leads to misunderstandings among unemployed youth. Sharmila said that ordinary people are victims of it.

The AFSPA has been in place in three northeastern states for decades to fight the insurgency. It allows security forces to arrest anyone on suspicion without a warrant, as well as exempts soldiers from arresting or prosecuting. Human rights activists allege that the law is often misused to arrest, raid homes or shoot people.

“You cannot win the people by force. The government should try to win the hearts of the people of the North East. Once there is a real connection between the people and those in power, things will get better,” he said. Said.

Sharmila had started her hunger strike against AFSPA after 10 civilians were allegedly shot dead by security forces at a bus stop in Malum near Imphal in 2000.

It resisted peacefully for 16 years before ending in 2016. The 50-year-old rights activist got married in 2017 and now lives in South India with her family.

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