No peace and democracy could be imagined without revoking the monstrous law, hence we demand immediate repeal of AFSPA and release of Irom Sharmila. – Shehla Rashid
BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Several groups of student’s organization and civil society gathered in a protest demonstration demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 on 22ndDecember 2014 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
The activists from Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi (MSAD), Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) demanded immediate repeal of AFSPA and release of Irom Sharmila.
Expressing agony on the issue, Rojesh Sriram, Former President, MSAD said, “The AFSPA gives the armed forces wide power to shoot to kill, arrest on flimsy pretext, conduct warrantless searches and demolish structures in the name of aiding civil power.”
“Equipped with these special powers, soldiers have raped, tortured, disappeared and killed people of north east and Kashmir for five decades without fear of being held accountable. We have never seen such draconian law in any other nation, not even in Pakistan,” he added
He also wondered: “No political party and intellectuals, except some, opposed AFSPA, had this been the case if AFSPA implemented in any other part of India.”
Ashutosh Kumar, President, JNUSU, opined: “Draconian laws have always been used as the tactics of suppression that we have witnessed in the Malom Massacre (Manipur) of 2nd Nov 2000 when the Assam Rifles massacred 10 innocent civilians, including women and children, and brutally assaulted more than 64 civilians in the name of counter insurgency.”
He reiterated that the struggle of Irom Sharmila is a precedent and inspiration to all and such spirit and sacrifice is required in countering and combating the authoritarianism and despotism of the state. Students activism and people’s movement would the play the essential role in this struggle.
Shehla Rashid, a JNU student who hails from Kashmir, said that the dishearten accounts of Thangjam Manorama, Asiya and Nilofer who were gang raped and murdered, are the result of impunity given to Armed Forces through AFSPA.
“No peace and democracy could be imagined without revoking the monstrous law, hence we demand immediate repeal of AFSPA and release of Irom Sharmila”, added Shehla.
Addressing the gathering Kashif Ahmed Faraz, Asst. National Coordinator, APCR stated “It is irony that the repressive laws, which were used to curtail the freedom movement of India by the colonial government, have been implemented in the worse form as TADA, POTA, UAPA and AFSPA by different Indian governments. Myriad numbers of illegal detentions, fake encounters, mass rapes, enforced disappearances and custodial death have been committed by the security personnel in the pretext of such laws.”
He urged that the awareness and restless struggle could change the scenario in this regards.
The others who addressed the protest were Shweta (AISA), Sujith Nath (SFI), Lien Gangle (KSO), Deepak Kumar (Youth of India), M. Tomoi Singh (JDU) and Bipinchand Pheiroijam (MSAD).