Tag: AFSPA

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Irom Sharmila’s 16years’ fast against AFSPA – The many headed struggle against AFSPA will continue

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

Kashmir Protests

Anger Against the Killing of Burhan Wani Burns in Kashmir Valley

(New Democracy News Service)

21 people have died and hundreds have been injured in police and paramilitary action against protestors in the Kashmir Valley in the 48 hours since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s popular leader, 22 year old Burhan Wani. The killing was in an intelligence led police action. No criminal case was registered anywhere in India against Wani. At the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in Srinagar alone, 87 cases of civilians injured by pellets came in within 24 hours. Of these, 40 had pellet injuries in their eyes and the Head of the Hospital said that 19 of them are likely to go blind. These pellets, incidentally, were supposed to be used by the armed forces to avoid fatalities. Doctors at the Srinagar hospital said that the injuries are to the head and the upper part of the body, i.e. they were not used for deterrence. Though restrictions to movement had been enforced, tens of thousands of people attended the funeral of Wani in Tral, which was totally peaceful as police had been withdrawn from the area. The funeral prayers had to be repeated 40 times to assuage the sorrow of the gathering. Funeral meetings were held in several parts of the Valley and everywhere thousands wept.… Read More

Kashmir Protests

Supreme Court Moves For Some Accountability Under AFSPA

(New Democracy News Service)

The evidence collected so painstakingly is doubtless both gruesome and undeniable. The struggles of civil rights activists countrywide as well as the pressure of democratic movements and people’s growing restlessness with obvious violence of state forces have also had some effect. Thus is it that while earlier Supreme Court judgements did not intervene much in the total flouting of laws by armed forces under cover of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit made some observations on 8th July 2016. Though not focusing on the growing demand for repealing AFSPA, the observations discuss its legal boundaries.

The case under consideration was of 1528 fake encounters in Manipur in a decade upto 2012. A petition had been filed for a SIT (Special Investigation Team) into these by hundreds of families of victims in Manipur under the banner of Extra Judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association. Of the cases mentioned, 62 were earlier investigated by the NHRC (which had concluded that half of the cases were fake encounters) and by a Court appointed Panel headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Santosh Hegde. The Supreme Court Bench has now ordered the processing of the rest of the cases and a presentation of the data of the 62 cases so that it can decide which agency is to investigate them.… Read More

Protests Ruling Class

J&K : Withdraw AFSPA

Kashmir is aflame again. The issue this time is Army firing at a white Maruti car in Budgam killing two of the five teenagers in it and badly injuring the other two. The Army said that the car refused to stop despite being flagged at three checkpoints. The SDM enquiry (SDM Budgam) and SSP have established that the car skidded out of control so could not stop and it finally hit a lamp post and stopped. An NDTV team reported it had seen the dented lamp post with bullet marks too. Locals state there is only one check post. The Army earlier said militants were in the car and had fired and injured two soldiers; later Rashtriya Rifles retracted and said news of militants coming was there and when the car did not stop, it was fired on. Many have commented that the firing to stop a car should be at the tyres; firing at the window screen is to kill not stop. One of the four occupants was a 14 year old teenager who was killed on the spot. The killings took place on Muharram day.

At the same spot three years earlier, the Army had fired on three soldiers ‘by mistake’ killing one.… Read More