Meghalaya has welcomed the Centre’s decision to remove Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in total from the State while urging the Centre to withdraw the ‘controversial’ law from all states in the North-east as well as Jammu and Kashmir.
Meghalaya Home Minister, James P K Sangma while welcoming the Centre’s decision, thanked the Central Government for withdrawing AFSPA from the State.
Former Church leader and social activist, Dr B M Basaiawmoit while welcoming the decision, said that there was no meaning to include Meghalaya and other states under AFSPA.
Basaiawmoit said that there has been a long demand to remove AFSPA from Meghalaya and other states in the North-east like Manipur and others including Jammu and Kashmir.
“This law is empowering the Army, and the Indian citizens cannot be an enemy of the country. There are other laws that can handle issues without using the Army. If you remove AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir, I am sure you can solve the Kashmir problem,” Basaiawmoit said.
Basaiawmoit is also part of the North East Dialogue Forum, a conglomerate of several organizations in the North-east demanding for repeal of AFSPA.
Northeast Students Organization (NESO) chairman, Samuel B Jyrwa also welcomed the decision of the Centre to revoke AFSPA from Meghalaya.
Jyrwa said, “AFSPA should also be withdrawn from other states in the North-east. AFSPA is a draconian and irrelevant law which cannot be accepted in this 21st century.”
Jyrwa said that various other pressure groups under the banner of NESO including human rights forums in the North-east have been demanding for repealing of AFSPA and urged the Central Government to withdraw AFSPA in total from all states in the North-east.
On Monday, the Union Home Ministry has revoked AFSPA from Meghalaya and reduced its operations to eight police stations from 16 police stations in Arunachal Pradesh.
Passed on September 11, 1958, by the Parliament, AFSPA in one of its provisions, stated that in an area that is proclaimed as ‘disturbed’ an officer of the armed forces has the power to fire upon or use force even if it causes death, against any person acting against the law.
AFSPA has also been lifted from Tripura a few years ago.