Repealing AFSPA will not weaken, only strengthen Constitution

News: The death of 14 civilians in Nagaland by the security forces raised the long-pending demand for repealing the AFSPA in the region.

What is AFSPA? Why demand for repeal of AFSPA is justified?
Read here: Explained: AFSPA and the Northeast

The repeal of AFSPA is necessary not just for restoring constitutional sanity, but also as a way of acknowledging the acts conduct under this act.

How AFSPA is counterproductive for the army itself?

First, providing wide immunity can distort the choice of strategy in counter-insurgency operations. In the words of Rajesh Rajagopalan, it leads to “conventional war bias”, emphasizes kills and area domination rather than smarter tactical and political incorporation

Second, wider immunity can often reduce the professionalism of the forces rather than increase it.

Third, Operations conducted by the army are mostly carried out with less effective local knowledge. Also, even after 70 years, the army is not able to root out insurgency even after the enforcement of AFSPA.

What are the Supreme Court and various committee’s guidelines? 

Supreme Court laid down guidelines for the use of AFSPA in 1997. It ruled out that unprofessional conduct, crimes and atrocities by the security forces can be prosecuted.

Read moreRespect the recommendation of various committees on AFSPA

What should be done?

Accountability: In the Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association, the court ordered the probe for 1,528 extra-judicial killings in Manipur. But there have been no hearings in this case for three years. So, there is a need to bring more accountability.

AFSPA is not just a law. It creates a whole culture that creates a culture of fear, interdiction, humiliation and violence. To strengthen the constitutional values and ethos, it is time that government should think of repealing the AFSPA to bring stability to the region.

Source: This post is based on the article “Repealing AFSPA will not weaken, only strengthen Constitution” published in Indian Express on 9th December 2021.

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