Controversial AFSPA extended for one more year in Manipur

By Shabana Islam Laskar

Imphal, December 2: In a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Chief Minister of Manipur has taken a decision to extend the time period of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 for another year in all the disturbed areas of the State.

As per Home Secretary M Yaiskul, from December 1 the cabinet decision will apply to all the parts of Manipur which has been declared as disturbed. He said that seven municipal areas of the State will be exempted from this rule.

The seven exempted areas are Thangmeiband , Uripok, Sagolband, Keishamthong, Yaiskul, Singjamei and Wangkhei. These seven places were freed from the grip of AFSPA after the Thangjam Manorama incident happened in the year 2004.

On 11 July 2004, Thangjam Manorama was found dead in an isolated place, investigation revealed that she was being raped by many and was shot dead. Death of Thangjam Manorama was followed by a huge protest by the people of Manipur as they allege that Thangjam was raped and murdered by 17 Assam Riffle personnel. Over 30 middle aged women paraded naked in front of Assam Rifles headquarters shouting ‘Indian Army rape us too…we are mothers of Thangjam’.

After this, seven municipal areas were exempted from jurisdiction of AFSPA and hence current decision of extension of the controversial law will also not apply to the following areas. Other than that in all the other disturbed areas AFSPA will be extended to another year taking effect from December 31, 2017.

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) grants special powers to the Indian Armed forces to take hold of the areas which are declared by the government as ‘disturbed areas’. This Act has been severely criticised by different sections for being draconian. AFSPA allows Army to kill or shoot any person or arrest any person without any warrant who will be caught breaking any law.