Rights activist Irom Sharmila has said the recent killing of civilians in Nagaland by security forces should be an eye-opener to revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the Northeast.

Sharmila, who was on a 16-year hunger strike against the AFSPA, said the Act is not only an oppressive regulation, it tantamounts to gross violation of basic human rights.

The AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without a prior warrant.

In the Northeast, it is in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area) and some districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Assam.

“The Nagaland incident has once again shown why the draconian AFSPA should be withdrawn from the northeast. It should be an eye-opener. Human lives are not so cheap,” Sharmila told a news agency.

She said that in the name of battling insurgency, the government can’t take away people’s basic rights.

At least 14 civilians were killed by security forces at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district recently.

Sharmila said that it is high time the Centre and state governments sit together and take a relook at AFSPA.

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