Context

  • The Centre is considering partial removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The move towards lifting AFSPA

  • The Ministry has asked the two BJP-ruled States for their views on AFSPA withdrawal.
  • The Ministryis now open to reviewing the stringent law in other States like Manipur.
  • The Ministry is waiting for the State governments say on the idea to take a come out with a final verdict.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry is looking at complete withdrawal, except two districts in the east bordering Myanmar and Nagaland.

To know more about AFSPA, Click Here

Is AFSPA required now?

The answer to this question varies with different people. There are both Pros and Cons attached to AFSPA.

Why is it required?

  • The plea for repealing the AFSPA is frequently used as a shield by many in the left-liberal cabal to advance their anti-national agenda.
  • Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures, and AFSPA is what is required to deal with anti-Indian terrorists whose stated objective is breaking up the country.
  • The Army contends that the situation across the Line of Control needs a robust military presence
  • The AFSPA does deliberate a lot of extra-judicial powers on the army operating in counter-insurgency theatres.
  • Section 4(A) of the Act allows army officers, junior commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers the power to shoot, or order to shoot, to kill for the following offenses.
  • The ordinary laws of the land are not enough to battle the anti-Indian terrorists.
  • In a counter-insurgency, the army is battling the terrorists who are the enemy, but within Indian territories and amidst Indian citizens.
  • Howsoever hard the army may try to prevent it, leads to collateral damage at times.
  • It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a soldier to pick out a terrorist from a crowd of citizens and neutralise him.
  • The army has, repeatedly, made it clear that it cannot operate without the AFSPA.
  • It needs special powers to tackle homegrown terrorists.
  • The Indian army doesn’t appreciate internal security and counter-insurgency duties.
  • Army is skilled to deal with external aggressors and in times of peace, would be much better off training for war and not hunting down terrorists or protecting civilians in Kashmir or Manipur.
  • It takes away from the army’s battle preparedness.

Why should it be repealed: the criticism of AFSPA

  • In the AFSPA controlled areas, human rights are being violated both by state and nonstate actors.
  • Counter- terrorism operations undertaken in goodfaith, at times, lead to collateral damage.
  • Several high committee recommendations for repealing AFSPA have been rejected. Justice Jeevan Committee and Administrative Reforms Committee recommended that the Act should be scrapped.
  • Section 4(a) of the AFSPA grants armed personnel to shoot and kill, is clearly violating article 21 of our Constitution.
  • Section 6 of the AFSPA provides then with absolute immunity for all atrocities committed under the AFSPA. The armed forces personnel conduct themselves as being above the Law.
  • No prosecution, suit or another legal proceeding shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the Central government against any person.
  • There is alack of clarity as to what constitutes a “disturbed area” and the rather arbitrary manner in which AFSPA is being imposed in the country.
  • Some of the critics of AFSPA are of the view that despite being in force for several decades this act has been unsuccessful to quell insurgency completely.
  • AFSPA act may contain different sections as applicable to the situation in each state. Hence there is no uniformity in the provisions.
  • Hundreds of Manipur families filled a plea that over the years more 1500 cases of fake encounters have taken place where armed forces have murdered innocent people under the garb of AFSPA.
  • Many human right activists and organizations too have been demanding its removal from north-east as well as Kashmir.

Conclusion

  • Due to several protest and humanitarian cases registered against AFSPA, there is definitely a check needed on AFSPA.
  • Rooting out AFSPA totally might create an atmosphere of chaos, and chances of terror attacks will increase.
  • Finding a midway seems difficult, but a tough check on administration of AFSPA can put things in order.

 

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