The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has done nothing positive for the North East and needs to be repealed immediately, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said today on the back of the deaths of 14 civilians and a soldier in Nagaland over the weekend.
In calling for the Centre to scrap AFSPA, Sangma was reiterating a demand of his party, the National People’s Party (NPP), of which he is president.
“AFSPA has only been counterproductive and there has been more unrest, not less, since it was implemented,” he said today. “It has led to situations where many precious lives have been lost and we are very clear in our stand that, though there are security issues, there are better ways to address them. AFSPA is definitely not the way and that is why we urge the government of India to repeal this draconian act.”
The CM had paid his condolences to the dead through social media yesterday but took full aim at AFSPA today. Opposition to the law can be found across the North East and it has been opposed for as long as it has been on the statute books. Sangma also recalled that his late father, the former Speaker of Parliament and ex-Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Purno A Sangma, had always opposed the act.
The Hynñiewtrep Youth Council (HYC) said that the government at the centre should now build a peaceful Northeast by repealing the AFSPA from the region.
Condemning the killing of 13 civilians in an ambush by security forces in Nagaland, HYC general secretary Roy Kupar Synrem in statement today said the fact that the root cause for such a bold act of killing spree by armed forces in the States like Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh is because of the draconian AFSPA, which provides immunity to such acts without any repercussion in the so called “disturbed areas”.
“We call upon each and everyone of our brothers and sisters especially our elected representatives in the Northeast to stand together and impress upon the union government to repeal the operation of AFSPA in order to avoid any further loss of innocent civilians lives like the “Oting Massacre” or the “Malom Massacre” in the future,” he said.
The AFSPA is in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area), Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling within the jurisdiction of eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam.