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Premature euphoria

by IT Web Admin
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The recent pronouncement made by the Supreme Court on the status of the most reviled and contested Act – The Armed Forces Special Powers Act. (AFSPA) once again raised hopes for millions of people, especially those who have been experiencing untold misery and excesses of the security forces under the garb of maintaining law and order. Hailing the apex court ruling as a landmark for justice to the violated people, many sees the damning criticism of the Act as an underlining for the need to revoke it as it has become archaic and has lost its relevance in today’s society. The Supreme Court have earlier asked the Manipur government how long the Army should be deployed in the state and enjoy unaccountable power under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and whether 35 years of the Army’s presence had improved the law and order situation. All the euphoria, however should be reserved for now as despite the strong condemnation for the excesses of the security forces, the Supreme Court has, on many counts earlier, validated the imposition of the Act. The representation made by senior advocate V Giri at the court on behalf of the state government stated that the law and order situation in Manipur still dictates the need for continuing with the Act citing the mushrooming of armed insurgent groups in the state. For those of us who have sampled the brunt of the audacity of the Act, notions of equality, fundamental rights and the essence of democracy has been tainted with suspicion and uncertainty.
The contention of the state government, however, falls flat as crimes and incidents related to insurgency in Imphal have reduced considerably since the Act was lifted from seven assembly constituencies within Imphal municipal area three years ago. That the imposition of AFSPA can hope to solve or maintain law and order has been proven wrong in an emphatic manner. That the mushrooming of armed insurgent groups have more to do with how the state government and its machinery are feeding and nurturing various anti-social elements who are feeding off the fear and uncertainty of the public, profiteering from the fear psychosis which have been so deeply ingrained in the minds of the people from the relentless experiences and witnesses of horrific and frightening incidents of violence, torture and deaths from uncomfortably close quarters for almost four decades and still counting.
The atrocities, excessive and often unwarranted use of force need to stop. As long as the Act is in place, no amount of judicial remedy or legal punishment will ever hope to make up for, negate or curb the instincts of those who have been trained and prepped for action. Only the total absence of the Act will make the armed forces realize the vulnerability of their position and therefore necessitate the adoption of more conventional and people-friendly methods to maintain order, and in the process might even uncover ways to win the trust and cooperation of the public.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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