For years the people of J&K, of Manipur and other North eastern states as well as revolutionary, progressive and democratic organizations and individuals throughout India have been fighting for the repeal of the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act). This is an Act which allows India’s armed forces to legally function virtually as an occupation force in the areas where it operates. There are fully documented cases galore of fake ‘encounters’, mass gang rapes with or without murders thrown in, killing of children, disappearances of thousands of people ‘picked up’ in the midnight knocks for questioning. All these are written off in the name of ‘course of duty’, are legally disallowed from being brought before the criminal courts of the country and no army court has ever admitted any wrong doing. The Supreme Court in a bench headed by the then Chief Justice J.S. Verma upheld the validity of the law. The Army establishment promptly squashes any demand for any reform or repeal from any areas and the Indian ruling classes –politicians, judges, armed forces and even sections of media- have been one in declaring that demanding any accountability will only amount to ‘demoralizing’ the armed forces.
Yet the struggle against AFSPA has burnt bright.… Read More