Repeal AFSPA in Manipur, say rights activists

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 02, 2013 12:50 hrs

Guwahati, Jan 2 (IANS) A conglomeration of civil society and rights groups from the northeastern region Wednesday asked the central government to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.

Sobita Mangsatabam of North East Dialogue Forum demanded scrapping of the act and starting of a dialogue process with rebel outfits for sustainable peace in Manipur.

"For 50 years, people of northeast have been experiencing internal and external conflict. The imposition of AFSPA and its impunity has caused a serious impact in the state," she said.

"Many women have witnessed their husbands, sons and brothers being killed in fake encounters," Sobita, who represents Manipur-based Women in Action for Development, told reporters.

She alleged that in recent years, many young men had been killed in the name of countering insurgency.

"The socio-political crisis victimises civilians, especially women and children," she said.

The AFSPA was imposed with strategic reasons in mind to counter the insurgency, she said but asked why the act was still in force despite protests.

"The government's own committee headed by Justice Jeevan Reddy and Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Veerappa Moily recommended AFSPA be repealed," she pointed out.

The Supreme Court is likely to hear an extra-judicial killing case Friday.

An apex court bench has admitted a plea for a special investigation team to probe extra-judicial killings in Manipur. The court has also appointed an amicus curiae.

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