Insurgencies are defeated by democratic politics, not force

News: The incident of Oting, Nagaland has revived the debate of AFSPA. There is a need to hold state authorities accountable and also review how the democratic Indian republic holds together its diverse population.

Read here: Nagaland killings aren’t a mere ‘blunder’
What is the current status?

Decades after AFSPA was legislated and invoked, many issues of grievance, disaffection, and separatism are still present. AFSPA has become a major tool in the hands of authorities to fight insurgency. This raises many questions like why is AFSPA necessary and how should one politically handle the issue of insurgency?

Read here: All about AFSPA
Why does AFSPA is necessary?

The army is not a police force. Its personnel are trained to function as a lethal force, risking their own lives. If the army is called in, it is because all other options have failed. To protect both civilians and their uniform counterparts in the conflict zone, there is a need for clear laws and political norms and extra protection for the person serving in the conflict zone.

Read here: Before criticising AFSPA, a full probe is necessary
Why must AFSPA be lifted after 6 months?

The army is the final resort and must be used minimally, sparingly and for as short as possible. The army must be called in only when a political crisis escalates into armed conflict and is beyond the capability of the state.

Army’s task should be to reduce the violence and hand the control back to the state. This is the reason why the duration of six months is built into the legislation.

Read here: Needed: repeal of AFSPA, not regret

Continuous deployment has a risk of making the army a scapegoat for the failings of political leaders. This may also enmesh soldiers in the political economy of conflict, corrode their professional culture and combat readiness.

Read here: Repealing AFSPA will not weaken, only strengthen Constitution
How should insurgencies be handled?

There is a need to look at restructuring Rajya Sabha. Giving equal seats to all states will ensure the interest of each state is protected. For example, currently, Nagaland has only one Rajya Sabha seat while Uttar Pradesh has 31. While in comparison to the USA, every state has an equal number of seats in the council of states irrespective of their size.

National integration cannot be achieved by force, it acquires genuine political empowerment of all constituents. Therefore, there is a need to balance the Rajya Sabha.

Source: This post is based on the article “Insurgencies are defeated by democratic politics, not force” published in the Livemint on 20th December 2021.

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