Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Preview of Excesses & AFSPA

“Should Arunachal be declared disturbed and AFSPA imposed?”

“BTW what’s AFSPA?”

“Well, it is the act which gives Army the unquestionable powers to shoot to kill, arrest and search or even destroy the entire property on mere suspicion and they won’t even be tried for their act in the court of law.”

Hmm… ek bar AFSPA impose karke bhi dekh lena chahiye, kya harj hai (Hmm… should impose AFSPA once and see, what’s the big deal).”

This was one of the responses that I received while taking views about AFSPA from the people here and it totally baffled me. What do you mean by should impose once? Does the person know, if AFSPA is imposed once it would be almost impossible to revert the imposition? Well, I guess not.

“Do you know that on imposing this act there may be cases of Human Rights violation and even you may not be spared?,” I asked.

“Why me? I’m a God fearing and law-abiding person.”

Very true. Why would any law abiding citizen be harassed by the law. But, latest report says otherwise. The AFSPA was only proposed and not even imposed yet in the state, the report of army atrocity is pouring in.

April 25: Powerful IED blast by ULFA near Medo village kills two army personnel and grievously injures Four.

May1: Army atrocities on the innocent villagers of Namgo Village under Chowkham Circle of Lohit District in the wake of IED blast reported.

“On arriving at the village after the blast was triggered at 4.40 pm, the army personnel summoned the villagers, engaged them in cleaning the area and forced them to kneel down the whole night without food and water. It was not the end of their excesses as next morning the poor villagers were engaged in cleaning the jungle and fetching muddy water without serving them a morsel of food and drop of water. Most of the villagers were charged with harboring the militants and tortured”

-The Arunachal Times

Further, there is report of destruction of property by uniformed personnel by entering into the houses of villager including that of Gaon Bura (GB) and threatening of local MLA.

May 4: Issue raised in Lok Sabha by MP Khiren Rijiju.

I do not say that the probe shouldn’t be initiated and suspects interrogated and that army personnel should not be angered over the incident (IED Blast), after all human lives were lost but to relieve the anger on simpleton villagers-where has the army intelligence gone? Couldn’t they pin point the suspect and interrogate? Weren’t the villagers God-fearing and Law abiding citizens or did their intelligence said that entire villagers were a suspect. But then, what way of interrogation was that-cleaning the area by villagers to search for the bodies, torturing, destruction of properties and threatening. And if this is the way the army use their might, God forbid, what would be the case if the proposal of declaring the State as "disturbed" and imposing AFSPA becomes reality, where the Army has unquestionable powers. Then they are GOD.

Doesn’t this act of theirs preparing future law breakers? Just as the Army was angered over the incident and subjected the villagers to atrocities, the innocent villagers may be angered over the Army excesses and take the law into their own hands. Who would be blamed for, then? Shouldn't the Army or any other law enforcing agency act sensibly instead of carried over by their emotions? Though, the Army tendered their apology for their atrocities on villagers, I fear, if such atrocities are not curbed it may lead to harbouring of secessionist tendencies among people of the state, and then AFSPA would be unavoidable irrespective of whether we consider the state still peaceful or not and the entire state would be in total chaos.

Also, it is pity on the part of people of this state who advocates imposition of AFSPA even though they consider this state as one of the most peaceful state of the country (guess they are not aware of the provisions in the act). However, I hope that the incident of atrocity at Namgo village would open their eyes and now would not vouch for AFSPA, th
e imposition of which may lead to more reports of Human Rights violation.

I thank my readers for whole heartedly participating in the poll on "Should Arunachal be put under the purview of AFSPA" and letting their views known. The result till now from 33 votes is 97% against AFSPA and 3% unsure on whether AFSPA be imposed on the state or not. The poll will be closed tomorrow. So do vote today and let your views be known.


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