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Revoke AFSPA in North-East: Amnesty

A day after the Union Home Minister talked about a possible scaling down of Central forces deployed in the North-East, Amnesty International said on Sunday that it must lead to a rethink on the use of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act as well in the States.

“On July 11, Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh discussed a possible reduction in deployment of Central forces in a meeting with Chief Ministers of Northeastern states... [and said] that the security situation has improved in the region,” Amnesty International India Media Officer Himanshi Matta said in a press statement.

“Worryingly, there was no discussion on the AFSA, 1958, which is in force in several North-Eastern States,” the statement claimed. “The Justice Verma Committee set up to review laws against sexual assault had said the AFSPA legitimises impunity for sexual violence.

“The Justice Santosh Hegde Commission set up by the Supreme Court to investigate cases of fake encounters in Manipur described the law as ‘a symbol of oppression...” it said.

“Several international bodies and experts, including the UN Special Rapporteurs on violence against women and human rights defenders, have also called for the repeal of the law,” the statement added. — PTI

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