The Supreme Court in a landmark observation on friday said that indefinite deployment of armed forces in the name of restoring normalcy under AFSPA “would mock at our democratic process”, apart from symbolising a failure of the civil administration and the armed forces. The court also said that “ordinarily our armed forces should not be used against our countrymen and women” and that “every person carrying a weapon in a disturbed area cannot be labelled a militant or terrorist or insurgent” and be killed without any inquiry. Raising serious questions on deployment of security forces in Manipur under the AFSPA since 1958, a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Uday U Lalit reminded the central and state governments that the purpose behind deployment of armed forces was to ensure normalcy would be restored within a reasonable period. Indeed, like the ancient evils of numerous mythologies that can never be completely defeated, only subdued for a brief spell before rising up to create upheaval and chaos, a very recent and man-made phenomenon that has been the bane of people living in the periphery of this great nation, a sort of mark that points out to the armed forces of their freedom to engage such people in any manner they deem appropriate- even to the point of shooting down anyone from the region of The North East India and the States of Jammu and Kashmir in particular on the slightest suspicion of being an armed revolutionary, without any consideration to the right to representation and right to life which the constitution granted to every citizen of India, is once again raring up its ugly head, threatening to claim more lives and unsettle the already volatile society further. The ominous sounding and aptly named Armed Forces Special Powers Act. (AFSPA) 1958, described as an archaic, irrelevant and draconian law that only serves to shield the armed forces personnel from the beastly crimes and atrocities perpetrated in the name of protecting the Country. An essential requisite for a state or a region to come under the purview of AFSPA is for the region to be declared a “disturbed area”. A very heartening development in the light of the present situation in the state is the implied indication of the representatives of the people in their collective decision to put the onus of declaring the “disturbed” status of the state squarely on the shoulder of the Chief Minister. It should not be a difficult decision, given the fact that the O Ibobi led present Government haven’t lost none of the opportunities to highlight the improvements in the law and order situation in the state- or will those words prove to be mere lip service, empty rhetoric to buy time and delay the inevitable that must surely be coming- the price for deceiving the trust and respect of the gullible yet unforgiving public? Furthermore, a comparative study of the law and order situation of the Maoist naxals dominated areas of Bihar, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Odisha with that of our State in the present scenario would surely elicit the responsive question of what has been preventing the central Government- or the respective State Governments from declaring these States as “disturbed areas”? the ground situation in these areas is far worse than in our present State, yet the State Governments still haven’t even considered discussing the “disturbed area” issue- or is it a deliberate slight from the Centre- a veiled message of the dual yardsticks and double standards it has been adopting on matters of governance and appraisals? The Disturbed area tag has been removed from parts of the state capital for a while now- has the law and order situation worsened for it? The public feels the opposite. The result of the bold and risky step taken by the Chief Minister has paid off. This also points to a rather unusual revelation- problems of terrorism/ armed reactionaries/revolutionaries/extortions/fake encouters/extrajudicial killings and even Army brutalities decreased when the ruling Government tightens the reigns of governance and accountability to the public. The equation worked out as expected. The ball is in the court of Ibobi. How he plays determines the future- for the people of this state, for himself and for the Party.