The horrific killing of innocent civilians in Nagaland by the Indian Army has once again highlighted the need for early repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, popularly known as the AFSPA. The armed forces get legal impunity under the AFSPA. They are repeatedly accused of misusing this Act in the states where it has been implemented. Human rights groups and citizens at large have always demanded the early repeal of the law. Successive governments at the Centre, be it BJP or Congress, have never made any attempt to remove this draconian Act.
After this latest incident, a chorus of NE leaders, including Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio and Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, has called for early repeal of the AFSPA. Sangma, who took a strong stand against the CAA too, was the first leader to raise the demand for repeal of the AFSPA. The North East Students’ Organization (NESO), an umbrella body of students’ unions of the region, said that the Centre should repeal the law if it is concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of the people of the Northeast. The political leaders of Arunachal Pradesh are so far maintaining a stoic silence over the whole incident. The AFSPA covers parts of the state, including the TCL region. It is time every political leader, civil society groups and other likeminded people join hands together and seek repeal of this draconian law.