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If Center blames Manipur Government for AFSPA in the State, CM O Ibobi Singh should exhibit his political will. It is now or never, Mr Chief Minister!
By Oken Jeet Sandham
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju’s reply to an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha Tuesday blaming State Government for the continuation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is misleading. He blamed the Manipur government for continuation of AFSPA in the State. He also clarified that Manipur is declared as disturbed area under AFSPA by the State Government of Manipur.
Then what about Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, which empowers the Central Government to declare the whole or such part of such State or Union Territory to be a disturbed area for the purpose of the Act.
Section 3 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 provides that:
“If in relation to any State or Union Territory to which this Act extends, the Governor of the State, or the Administrator of the Union Territory, or the Central Government in either case, is of the opinion that the whole or any is in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that the use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power is necessary, the Governor of that State or the Administrator of that Union Territory or the Central Government as the case may be, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare the whole or such part of such State or Union Territory to be a disturbed area”.
The process of declaration of emergency under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 as amended in 1972, violates the provisions of the Constitution of India and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which India is a party.
It may be mentioned that soon after Neiphiu Rio became the Chief Minister of Nagaland in 2003, his Government had been opposing tooth and nail to Delhi’s attempts to extend “disturbed area” status in the state citing various reasons of the relative peace in the State. In spite of such requests from the State Government, Delhi turned a deaf ear and announced extension of “Disturbed area status” as if the situation in Nagaland was like 80s or early 90s. They had no compunction to the honest recommendations of the State Government.
Following Iron (Iron Lady) Sharmila’s unexpected announcement to end her fast on August 9 and join politics, the Center and the State (Manipur) are completely left in a complete helplessness. Both the Center and the State have been in their deep slumber till such time when the Iron Lady declared to end her 16-year long fast on August 9 and join politics. In her 16-year fasting, the Center had miserably failed to have even an informal talk with her and whether New Delhi agrees or not, the country’s global image as the world’s largest democratic nation has been badly dented when she declared to end her fast on August 9.
Now, the Center has been trying to play politics with the draconian and controversial Act, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) by blaming the State Government of Manipur for the continuation of the Act (AFSPA) in the State. As Rijiju, while replying an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, clarified that Manipur is declared as disturbed area under AFSPA by the State Government of Manipur, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, who had already withdrawn AFSPA from the seven constituencies in Imphal in 2004, should exhibit his political will at this hour. He will never get such a political opportunity to act. It is “now or never,” Mr Chief Minister.