AFSPA 1958 in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and J and K

Yangsorang Rongreisek
Contd from previous issue
Next a high power commission headed by the retired Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde was constituted in January, 2013 to probe six encounter deaths in Manipur. The committee comprising former Supreme Court Judge NS Hegde, ex-CEC JM Lyngdoh and a police officer said in its report that the probe showed that none of the victims had any criminal records. The judicial commission set up by the Supreme Court tried to make the controversial AFSPA more humane and the security forces more accountable. The committee suggested fixing a time frame of 3 months for the Central Govt to decide whether to prosecute security personnel engaged in extrajudicial killings or unruly behaviour in insurgency-hit regions. The Commission also noted that AFSPA was an impediment to achieve peace in regions such as Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East. As the last stroke, the Commission further said that the law needed to be reviewed every six months to see whether its implementation was actually necessary in States where it was being enforced. About section 6 of the Act guaranteeing protection against prosecution to the armed forces, the report said: “It is not that no action can be taken at all. Action can be taken but with prior sanction of the Central Govt of India.
The dictum shows that States of the Indian Union have no voice in the matter and cannot act at all. What is learnt from the above dictum is that whether the AFSPA, 1958 is reviewed or restructured, it is the same thing unless it is completely repealed to build up the spirit of unity in diversity. The writer can be contacted at [email protected]