NTIMES 12Dec: The Ten Commandments of Armed Forces Special Powers Act
1. You shall have no other ‘god’ under AFSPA except ‘military rulers’.
2. You shall not make for yourself a strong civilian Government that would repeal AFSPA from the land.
3. You shall not take the name of AFSPA in vain, for AFSPA will not hold anyone guiltless who takes its name in vain.
4. Remember Curfew days to keep it holy. On these days, you shall not venture out from your residence for AFSPA’s hallowed ‘angel’ (bullet) may punish you.
5. Honour your Army Generals and Captains that your days may be long in the land, which you have inherited from your fore-parents.
6. You shall not kill Indian armies even though they kill your people and rape your sisters.
7. You shall not commit even a slightest mistake before AFSPA for that could cost your life.
8. You shall not raise your voice in media about atrocity committed by Indian armed forces.
9. You shall not file case in court against human rights violation by Indian armed forces.
10. You shall not covet your neighboring States’ civilian Governments, development and security.
AFSPA is producing many insurgent groups in Northeast and JK. When AFSPA was imposed in Manipur in the early 1980s, there were only two active insurgent groups operating in Manipur. Today, after 30 years of its imposition, the provocative act of AFSPA has given birth to nearly 40 insurgent groups. There are 6,70,000 military forces in JK just to fight against 600 odd militants. The number of military forces could be more in NEI. Under heavy militarisation, common people are struggling for survival and dignity. The Central Government will never ever impose this inhumane Act in other States of India except in NEI and JK. If AFSPA is not racism, then what is it? AFSPA simply says ‘you are savaged people.’
In other words, ‘you are too ignorant to decide for your life’. Hence, to make us ‘civilize’ and good people, armies keep an eye on all our movements and activities. They interrogate and frisk us. They torture us for silly matters. They bang into our house late at night to check what we are doing. Ridiculous!!! We are forced to live according to what the Indian armed forces think best for us. This is the reason why many people have joined insurgent movements. If there is respect, peace and development in the State then who will like to risk their life in jungle leaving behind loved and dear ones, suck by leeches, bite by snakes, torture by wintry cold and summer storms.
Our Ministers and Defence Minister at the Centre often says that the ‘ground reality’ is not suitable for revoking AFSPA. However, the fact is that this unfavourable ‘ground reality’ is created by this Act. Once this draconian Act is revoked and the aspirations of common people properly understood and addressed, will there be peace in the State.
AFSPA means ‘military rule’. Many people from mainland India criticise military rule in Myanmar but hardly speak out against the harsh military rule under AFSPA in India. AFSPA, instead of helping people’s Government, undermines it in its entirety. So often, the State Government became a tool of AFSPA protecting armies at the cost of civilians. The power of Chief Minister and Cabinet Ministers is curtailed to a ‘toothless tiger’ by AFSPA. The helplessness of Chief Minister is seeing in the imprisonment of Irom Sharmila Chanu for more than 11 years.
AFSPA clearly signifies that there are no qualified local politicians (educated people) to maintain ‘law and order’ in the State. Or if at all there are, then New Delhi undermines the capability of our leaders. Deeper analysis shows that our States are under the control of and run by ‘outsiders’ who are army generals, captains and so on. We are under captivity. We have no freedom. Our life is in the hand of armies. When Indian army officers staunchly oppose any move to repeal this Act, it is quite understandable. Under AFSPA, they are the ‘big boss’ or ‘god’ who controls everything. When a Chief Minister has no power to control over a mere army captain, one ought to feel shame.
Our politicians should feel embarrassed the most. Is it necessary to spend time and energy electing our representatives when they have no power to give us freedom, development and security? Is it not better if a Governor rules us directly so that there is better administration and development in the State? As State’s election draws near, people of Manipur must set an example for others by voting brave men and women into Assembly seat who would dare challenge to revoke AFSPA from the State. It’s high time to have a sensible Government that will protect the life of and give security to each individual—for in essence the Government exists for the wellbeing of its citizens and not its citizens for the Government.
For the sake of peace in the land, security of its citizens and holistic development, AFSPA must go. The sooner, the better.
Courtesy: ZK Pahrii Pou