Saturday, 10 December 2011

AFSPA: Legal terror

The non-state armed group (insurgents, extremists or terrorists, whatever you may call them) need to be dealt with and contained because they violate rights of the people to live peacefully, they try to impose their will on the people and the state unlawfully and violently trampling the constitutionalism and the rule of law that are sine qua non for civilised human existence. It is the mandate of the state to maintain the reign of law and constitution and the writ of the government established by law along with ensuring security and safety of the person and property of the citizens. But when the state through its security forces and law enforcement agencies commits more atrocious acts than the acts which it professes it is fighting the difference between the non-state terrorists and the state gets blurred. 

The armed forces of India when operate under the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 in North East India or in Jammu and Kashmir (under J&K version) do not act for enforcement of the constitution and the law of the land or for protection of the life and property of the citizens. Because, they operate outside the constitutional and legal system of the land. The AFSPA places them above the constitution, law and human rights obligations. The AFSPA gives them the power to commit atrocities and wreak terror on the citizens which they are supposed to combat and prevent and protect the citizens from, with additional guarantee of immunity from any accountability.The mischief that is addressed in the statute is doubled by its provisions. To purportedly prevent the people from the terror of certain armed groups the sate itself has unleashed its unmatched terror upon the very people under the AFSPA. And it is not only in law but very much in practice.

The inevitable conclusion is that this piece of legislation is not meant for protection of the people and the democratic way of life because it kills both of them. This Act serves to protect the land and its resources from the people who live there. This is in tune with the declaration made by then prime minister Indira Gandhi during the unrest in Mozoram in 1980s that she did not care for the people but the land and cleared the land by bombing from the air.