Time to repeal AFSPA, says Agatha Sangma in LS

An MP of the National People’s Party, Agatha Sangma. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

An MP of the National People’s Party, a BJP ally, Agatha Sangma on Tuesday said in the Lok Sabha that it was time to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which had failed to curb insurgency in the Northeast.

Speaking during the Zero Hour, the Meghalaya MP said the killing of 14 civilians by security forces in Nagaland on December 4 and December 5 was not the first time that such an incident had occured, “where innocent civilians have to bear the brunt of a draconian law like AFSPA”.

She said though Home Minister Amit Shah gave a statement in Parliament on Monday and announced the setting up of a Special Investigation Team, “but I also believe that it is time that the elephant in the room be addressed, which is that AFSPA be repealed.”

Ms. Sangma said the incident had been condemned by all students’ unions from the Northeast, other groups from the region and her political party.

“The reason why AFSPA was enacted in 1958 was to ensure that insurgency be stopped in the Northeast, but it has not been able to do that,” she said, adding that instead of curbing insurgency, the Act had led to civilians being “tortured, raped and killed”.

She said she called for the repeal of AFSPA “not just on behalf of my party, the National People’s Party, but on the behalf of the people of the North-East”.

Ms. Sangma also said the latest incident reminded one of the Malom massacre in Manipur in 2000, which had prompted then 28-year-old Iron Sharmila to go on a 16-year hunger strike. Ms. Sangma’s speech came a day after the NPP president and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said via a tweet that “AFSPA should be repealed”.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 9:16:22 PM |

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