Kolkata, November 16, 2014 (PPI-OT): Civil society activists branding as draconian the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives sweeping powers to the Indian armed forces to deal with freedom movements in Kashmir and elsewhere, staged a protest in Kolkata to commemorate the 15th year of the ongoing hunger strike by Manipuri anti-AFSPA activist Irom Sharmila Chanu.
The “Iron Lady”, as Sharmila is known in Manipur, is on fast since Nov 4, 2000, while seeking repeal of the AFSPA following the killing of 10 people by the Indian paramilitary personnel at Malom on Nov 2, 2000. The AFSPA is in force in Jammu and Kashmir and parts of India including Manipur, Tripura, Assam and Nagaland states, in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
The draconian act provides unlimited powers to the armed forces to shoot at sight, arrest people without a warrant or carry out searches without hindrance, and also insulates them from legal processes for any action undertaken under the Act.
In addition, it permits the army and the paramilitary forces operating in areas declared as “disturbed” by the Indian home ministry to take whatever action they deem fit against terrorists. The 42-year-old human rights activist was released recently after a district and sessions court asked the Manipur government to free her from the makeshift jail set up in a hospital since November 2000.
However, Sharmila was re-arrested only after two days on charges of attempt to commit suicide, after she refused to undergo a medical check-up or be force-fed following her release.
For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: 92-51-4435548, 4435549