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Friday 25 January 2013

Love curfew relaxed in Mumbai as tortured children narrate police brutality in Delhi!Verma panel’s recommendations on AFSPA may not be implemented?

Love curfew relaxed  in Mumbai as tortured children narrate police brutality in Delhi!Verma panel's recommendations on AFSPA may not be implemented?
Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time, Chapter: Nine Hundred fifty One
Palash Biswas

Mobile: 919903717833

Skype ID: palash.biswas44


On the link given below you will find report of the Justice J.S Verma Committee. The full report has 657 pages, that is why I am not able to send it with attachment in the mail as the pdf file is too big.

A day after Justice Verma panel made recommendations for changing laws to check crimes against women, government on Thursday indicated it may not be able to implement them in relation to AFSPA and disqualification of lawmakers. Taking strong cognizance of sexual offences committed by armed forces personnel in conflict zones, Justice J S Verma committee report has not only recommended amendments to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) but even questioned its continuance in such areas.times of India reports.The report has recommended that the Act's provision of seeking sanction from the central government before initiating any legal action against an armed forces personnel should be done away with in case of sexual crimes. These would include crimes such as outraging the modesty of a woman and rape.While making this recommendation Justice Verma has observed that "There is an imminent need to review the continuance of AFSPA and AFSPA-like legal protocols in internal conflict areas as soon as possible. This is necessary for determining the propriety of resorting to this legislation in the area(s) concerned."

Meghalaya Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary has suggested that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) must be replaced with an amended Code of Criminal Procedure or CrPC, so that both security forces and civilian rights are protected under a single Act. Mooshahary, a former chief of the National Security Guard and Border Security Force, has been a constant advocate for repeal of the controversial Act, which protects the rights of the security forces in areas of conflict during operations by giving sweeping powers.

Maintaining that the review of Armed Forces Special Powers Act was a difficult issue "because the context is different", Law Minister Ashwani Kumar told a news channel, "How do you divide the action taken in the line of duty where the circumstances are such that nobody knows what is going to happen?" n debarring politicians for committing crime against women, Kumar said, "Now, personally speaking--I am not speaking as the Law Minister of this country--but as a citizen and a lawyer, I believe that there should be at least one conviction by one court. When you are found to be guilty upon evidence before a penal consequence of being debarred is visited upon you." He disagreed with suggestions on disqualifying politicians from contesting polls once court takes cognisance of cases against them.

The Verma Committee, set up to review laws dealing with crimes against women in the aftermath of the public outrage over the Delhi gang-rape incident, had recommended disqualification of politicians from contesting elections and there was no need to wait for the trial of a case to be over.

It favoured debarring politicians from contesting polls the moment a court takes cognisance of the offence committed by them.

"The terminology in law is one has to be found to be guilty upon evidence. My personal view is at least one court should have found you to be guilty before such a grave consequence is visited upon you," Kumar said.

Kumar said he was confident that the Justice Verma Committee report would be placed before Parliament during the Budget Session beginning next month.

In a flip-flop, police on Thursday said they will crack down on couples found meeting in isolated places in Mumbai but soon amended their decision after it evoked sharp criticism. The Mumbai Police has abandoned a misguided attempt to target couples romancing in parks and beaches, a move which was intended, bafflingly, to make the city safer.On January 14, police had sent a circular to all police stations directing them to take action against couples who meet at secluded places, a move which they said was aimed at preventing them from becoming victims of miscreants.As per the 10-day-old advisory, the couples would be first asked to leave the isolated spot. In case they do not comply, action would be initiated against them under relevant sections of Bombay Police Act such as imposing penalty and detention, among the others.Police faced criticism for the "moral circular" soon after Mumbai Police spokesperson Ambadas Pote informed the media about the January 14 advisory. Police got into damage control exercise and quickly amended the circular, asking its personnel to step up vigil at lonely spots in the metropolis. On the other hand,Four homeless children, who were victims of trafficking, drug abuse and shocking sexual exploitation and violence, narrated their tales to J S Verma committee alleging that police personnel used to extort money and even indulge in sexual exploitation of women.The committee has annexed their interview in the report in which the children, whose names have been withheld, claimed that they saw police personnel of a Police Control Room van taking a girl from a red light in their van and raping her in a nearby jungle.The report had also withheld where the alleged incident took place.

The north-east and Jammu & Kashmir have seen massive protests over the years against AFSPA specially due to the protection given to armed forces personnel against legal action that people believe allows the men in uniform get away with heinous crimes. While, J&K CM Omar Abdullah has recommended removal of AFSPA from certain areas of the state, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has repeatedly said that time isn't ripe yet.

With respect to amendments in the Act to ensure safety of women, Justice Verma has noted: "At the outset, we notice that impunity for systematic or isolated sexual violence in the process of Internal Security duties is being legitimized by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is in force in large parts of our country. It must be recognized that women in conflict areas are entitled to all the security and dignity that is afforded to citizens in any other part of our country."

To ensure protection of women in conflict areas, the report has also made several recommendations that include bringing sexual violence against women by uniformed men under the purview of ordinary criminal law and appointment of special commissioners for safety of women in conflict areas.

According to the interview, one of the kids was witness to kidnapping and rape of a girl by three policemen.The child claimed that he saw the police men sitting in a PCR van speaking to a girl dressed in a blue jeans and yellow t-shirt and asked her to sit in it.They took her deep inside a jungle where they raped her one by one and left her there, as the child with one of his friends witnessed it in horror while hiding.They also claimed that police personnel target women labourers and construction workers.The children told the committee that they were witness to an incident where a police van did not stop at a place where a woman was allegedly being raped despite loud cries by her children.They also claimed that police personnel used to extract money from street urchins who take drugs or sniff "solution" (referring to whitener).The committee has also taken into account the interview of a girl who was a victim of trafficking.

"Often when the tide is low, couples sit by the shore at tourist locations like Marine Drive, Worli, Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu and Bandra bandstand. As these places are isolated, criminals can rob them, sexually exploit women... Therefore remove those sitting in such isolated places and take action against then," the notice said.

The revised circular issued today, says the police will increase patrolling in uncrowded places to ensure that couples aren't "targeted by anti-social elements."

"The reason behind this move is that we do not want them (couples) to face the risk of becoming victims of miscreants. It is a preventive measure," Mumbai Police spokesperson Ambadas Pote said today, before the correction was made.

The police said that it was trying to focus on safety for women after the horrific gang-rape of a medical student on a moving bus in Delhi last month.

However, though no longer now on paper, can lovers in Mumbai, with its police repeatedly accused of moral policing, really breathe easy?

For 'kissing, cuddling, holding hands', police cracks down on young lovers

Jajpur (Odisha) Young girls and boys were made to kneel down in front of police station for allegedly "kissing, cuddling and holding hands" in public places by cops in Jajpur district, sparking criticism from activists.
While women organisations and human rights body alleged that it was violation of rights, police claimed that the "drive is being undertaken taken to avoid complications like rape, murder or kidnapping of young girls".

The incident took place yesterday when the Jajpur police "caught" at least three couples, all college students, from a park at Jajpur town.

They were picked up and taken to a police station at Jajpur Town and ordered to kneel down outside the building. Their parents were later summoned to the police station.

However, the youngsters were freed after a warning. No case was registered in the matter.

"We caught the three pairs of girls and boys for kissing, cuddling and holding each others hands at the park. We brought them to the police station and warned them not repeat the act," said Alok Ranjan Roy, inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Jajpur town police station.

The police have launched a crackdown after a minor school girl was abducted and confined to an abandoned house for several hours by five youths on Sunday.

"The drive is being taken to avoid complications like rape, murder or kidnapping of young girls," Roy said.

"The couples have annoyed local people by such activities. Their public display of love has turned as discomfort for others," Roy said.

"We strongly condemned the act of the police in which they forced the girls and boys to kneel down in full public view. This is the violation of human rights. If they committed any crimes, they should have been forwarded to the court. Publicly kneeling them down is a reprehensible act," said Uday Sahu, Jajpur district secretary of All India Human Rights association.

When contacted, Jajpur Superintendent of Police, Deepak Kumar said, "the matter is being examined. If there is any instance of assault, appropriate action will be taken against the erring officials."

In a detailed and scathing report the three-member Justice JS Verma Committee has called for stricter implementation of existing laws, police reforms, gender sensitisation of the security agencies and judiciary along with several changes in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to deal with crime against women particularly rape cases. In one of the most significant recommendations the Justice Verma Committee has proposed that if a woman ends up killing a rapist or a would-be rapist, she can claim the right to self defence under Section 100 of the IPC.

Despite calls for death penalty in rape cases, the committee declined to recommend death and instead suggested that the maximum punishment should be life imprisonment. The committee has also recommended against lowering the age criteria for juveniles accused of heinous crimes like rape.

Unlike several other committees which have failed to come up with their reports on time, the committee comprising of former chief justice of India JS Verma, former chief justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court Leila Seth and former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanian came up with detailed recommendations to deal with crimes against women including stalking, acid attacks, molestations and rapes.

A month after the brutal Delhi gangrape and murder, the Justice Verma Committee submitted its recommendations to check crimes against women on Wednesday. The report suggested changes in an entire gamut of laws to bring speedier justice for crimes against women.

The report slammed police apathy and pointed out that not even one Director General of Police from any state sent any recommendations even as the committee received almost 80,000 suggestions from different sections of the society. While addressing a press conference, Justice Verma declared that he was shocked to see the Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar being patted on the back by Union Home Secretary RK Singh just a few days after the December 16, 2012 brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student by six men inside a bus in the national capital.

The Justice Verma panel also the government and the public for failing to perform their duties while calling for police reforms and gender sensitisation of the force to deal with crimes against women. Justice Verma said there was hardly any response from DGPs and their appointment must be reviewed.

However, Justice Verma added that implementing the existing laws was sufficient to maintain law and order. "The existing laws if credibly implemented are sufficient and law enforcement agencies must not become tools at the hands of political masters. We have seen CBI changing its stand," added Justice Verma.

Justice Verma, who said there was a lukewarm response from the ministries, credited the youth for the response. "I'm greatly indebted to the youth. The report wouldn't have been possible without them," said Justice Verma.

Justice Verma said that every complaint of rape should be registered. "Most rape incidents are not reported and those reported may not be recorded. Insensitivity of police to deal with rape victims is well known. There should be special provisions for sexual assault of disabled persons," said Justice Verma.

He also said that sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas should be brought under ordinary criminal law. The panel recommended that there is an imminent need to review AFSPA in conflict areas. The Verma Committee recommended appointment of Special Commissioners with adequate powers to redress complaints of sexual violence against women in conflict areas.

Taking a hard stand on khap panchayats, the panel said that khap panchayats don't enjoy sanction of law and called them "self-styled bodies". The panel report suggested, "Women have the right to choose whom they want to marry and not khaps."

Slamming the male police officers, the report said that they don't take rape cases seriously. "Large scale trafficking of women is taking place and the police including the CBI is aware of this malaise but they have done nothing about it," said the report.

Commenting on Delhi Police, the report said that Delhi Police is not under the ambit of Delhi government but the Lieutenant Governor. The report said the ambiguity should be removed to maintain responsibility. "There was total apathy on everyone's part. It's the state's duty to provide safe environment," said Justice Verma.

Justice Verma also called for modification in the proposed criminal law amendment act and suggested that all marriages should be registered.

Flaying the police for lathi charge on peaceful protesters, Justice Verma said that the police action on peaceful protestors scarred the Indian democracy. "Law enforcement shouldn't be tools of politicians, however, implementing the law strictly is a must to maintain order. Also, police reforms must be implemented" added Justice Verma.

The report also suggested reforms for missing children cases and said that authentic figures of missing children are unavailable. Justice Verma said, "Every district magistrate should prepare census of missing children. Every District Magistrate is responsible for making census of missing children. Juvenile homes are a breeding ground for sexual offences."

Justice Verma also called for making the journey in public transport safer and said that better streetlights would provide more safety.

Verma, the head of the three-member panel, was approached by the Central government for the task on December 23. The other members of the panel are former Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam. He said the failure of governance was the root cause of crime against women. He also said it was "equally shocking" that there was total apathy of everyone who had a duty to perform.

"We have submitted the report in 29 days. When I offered to do the work within 30 days, I did not realise the magnitude of the work," Verma told a press conference after submitting his voluminous report to the Home Ministry. He said the report may be known after him but it is the outcome of suggestions from people within India and outside the country.

"We received 80,000 suggestions," he said adding all of them were read and considered before finalising the report. On how he decided on a time frame for finalising the report, Verma said when a senior Cabinet Minister approached him on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he asked him when is the next session of Parliament.

"The Minister told me that the (Budget) session will start on February 21. There were two months. So I decided lets do it in 30 days. If we are able to do it in half the time available, then the government with its might and resources should also act fast," he said.

He complimented the youth for the mature response. "Youth has taught us what we, the older generation, were not aware of. I was struck by the peaceful manner in which the protests were carried out.. the youth rose to the occasion," he said.

Specific Legal Amendments recommended by Justice Verma

1. Recommends including Rape as a Right of Private Defence of body (Amendment of Section 100 IPC, which is the Right to Self Defence Section).

2. Recommends non-registration of a rape complaint a criminal offence (Amendment of Section 166, which willful disobeying of a law by a government official).

3. Recommends recasting of section 354 of IPC (currently called outraging modesty of woman) and adding it to existing sections of rape and sexual assault.

4. New law proposed for Acid Attacks (by adding a section in IPC).

5. Recommends amending section 354 of IPC (currently outraging modesty of a woman) to include intentional touching of a woman in a sexual nature without consent of a woman and includes similar acts by way of words, gestures.

6. Recommends new section in IPC for laws against disrobing of a woman.

7. Recommends new section in IPC for Voyeurism.

8. Recommends new section in IPC for Stalking. Importantly stalking includes in electronic form as well, so cyber stalking is included.

9. Recommends new section called Trafficking in IPC. Includes trafficking of any human being.

10. Recommends separate provision of police officials involved in trafficking and proposes life term for them.

11. Recommends employing trafficked human Being an offence as well.

12. Recommends recognizing sexual offences against specially-abled, ailing and pregnant women and proposes enhanced punishment.

13. Recommends enhanced punishment in gang rape, and rapes committed by policemen, armed personnel, public servants.

14. Recommends amendments in Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

15. Recommends amendments in Representation of People's Act.

Welcoming the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee on reforms in anti-rape laws, activist Kiran Bedi on Thursday said these suggestions were revolutionary and can trigger an uprising if implemented.

Speaking at the launch of her book "Uprising- 2011" at the Jaipur Literature Festival here, she said that the Anna Hazare movement against corruption was the "first uprising" which was followed by the "second uprising" which saw protests of young people following the Delhi gangrape incident. Now the "third uprising" would be the implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee.

"I do believe that it is going to be third uprising with the recommendations of Justice Verma Committee on the table. They (recommendations) are amazing as they cleaned up elections, policing, and politician-criminal backyard."

The three-member committee, which was set up to recommend measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences, submitted its report to the government yesterday.

"With Justice Verma coming in, I believe that community will have to play interesting role," she said.

Bedi described "Uprising-2011" as "amazing and quick compilation" of sequence of events related to Anna movement against corruption.

"It was the first time coming together non-politically, patriotically and selflessly for a cause which was hurting, bugging and concerning all and this is what this book is all about," she said.

According to her, the book was about "seeing history" and not reading history.

"I started preserving which was happening in Annaji's movement and it was complied for this book. This book is about seeing history, not reading history. It has clipping of that period which we picked most objectively.

"All cartoons, articles we selected them at that time are there in the book. This is an amazing quick compilation giving long life to reporting of the movement."

In response to a question whether the agitation related to crime against women lacked leadership or known faces like her, she said it succeeded because of all new and unknown youths were the face of the agitation, not "overused faces".

10,000 fake call centres running in Delhi, say police

Over 10,000 fake call centres are operating here and many of them indulge in illegal activities of cheating innocent people, a police officer said Monday.

"Over 10,000 fake call centres are running in the capital which are making around 2 to 2.5 lakh calls daily to people living in and outside the country," Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) S.B.S. Tyagi told reporters.

Such call centres are unregistered and are generating unaccounted money, he said.

"The raids are conducted whenever we receive any specific inputs about such call centres," Tyagi said.

Five people, involved in running an illegal call centre, were arrested Monday for cheating several people. They used to assure people of helping them in getting unsecured loans and insurance matters.

Kashmir political parties hail Justice Verma's AFSPA suggestion, Omar calls for all-party meet

The Justice JS Verma committee's recommendation to review armed forces' impunity in case of sexual violence against women in the garb of the Armed Forces Special Forces Act (AFSPA) has been hailed equally by political parties and civil society groups in Kashmir.Reports Hindustan Times.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is calling for an all party meet, said, "Parliament will do what it has to but I promise to the people of J&K that we will look at the Verma committee report with all seriousness so that as many as possible are implemented."

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also welcomed the recommendations. "There is no formal invitation (for an all party meet) from the chief minister so let it come formally first. But we think recommendations, if implemented, will make difference on the ground," PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar said.

Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), a civil society group whose member met Justice Verma on January 18 with their seven-point recommendations, hailed the suggestion to review AFSPA.

"The state government and all mainstream political parties of J&K need to rise above party lines and lobby for the implementation of the suggestions," KCSDS member Shakeel Qalander said.

The group has apprised Justice Verma of about 900 documented cases of rape and gang rape, with many allegedly perpetrated by security forces in the past two decades.

The committee on Wednesday suggested that sexual offences by armed forces and uniformed men in conflict areas should be brought under ordinary criminal law.

"Justice Verma has rightly suggested that no person, whether in uniform or in civvies, are above law when it comes to abuse of a woman. Now we expect justice in cases of the past two decades, where Indian civil society has been silent all these years," said Qalander adding, "time has come to withdraw AFSPA completely".

Demanding complete withdrawal of the AFSPA, MLA engineer Rasheed said, "Justice Verma report is woman-specific but the chief minister has been promised withdrawal of the AFSPA completely to end impunity to security forces."

Rasheed, while asking New Delhi to enter into a ceasefire with the United Jehad Council, said, "This January 26, India should show magnanimity of a democracy by removing the AFSPA from J&K".

Of late, Kashmir political parties, including chief minister Omar Abdullah's National Conference, are advocating ending of the AFSPA in the state with the dip in militancy, though the army opposes the idea saying it will affect their operational capabilities while fighting militancy.

With Verma committee report, clamour against AFSPA gets louder
by FP Staff Jan 23, 2013

Political parties, human rights groups and various other organisations have made unheeded calls in the past for doing away with or amending the Armed Forces Specials Powers Act (AFSPA),  but will the criticism of this  legislation by the Justice JS Verma committee be the turning point?

Presenting the report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, a member of the committee Gopal Subramaniam today said that armed forces, including para-military forces, should be brought under common law when operating in conflict zones in order to stem the number of cases where women were sexually exploited.

"There's an imminent need to review the continuance of AFSPA in areas as soon as possible," Subramaniam said, adding that mechanisms need to be put in place to take action against military and para-military forces in conflict zones.

Can't security forces do without the shield of AFSPA? AFP
Subramaniam said that it had noticed the "impunity of systematic sexual violence" that was being legitimised by AFSPA and that measures to ensure the security and dignity of women would have a long term impact.

"General law relating to detention of women must also be strictly followed," he said.

The legislation, which allows personnel of armed forces to enter homes without a warrant and arrest people if they are perceived to be involved in a crime, has been cited by various human rights groups as being draconian and a denial of basic human rights to the people in states where it is implemented. The law which seeks to protect armed forces in conflict zones from being hindered by general law, requires sanction to prosecute personnel accused of crimes.

However, in the context of sexual crimes against women the tide may be turning, with even the Supreme Court recently observing that in cases of rape and sexual assault security forces should not be able to shield themselves with the AFSPA.

""You go to a place in exercise of AFSPA, you commit rape, you commit murder, then where is the question of sanction? It is a normal crime which needs to be prosecuted, and that is our stand," a Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar noted recently.

Those against the law argue that often the collection of evidence and prosecution of personnel charged with sexual crimes are delayed because of the sanction needed to prosecute then, resulting in weakening the case of the victims.

However, the Indian Army chief has so far shown no signs of wanting any dilution in the law in regions like Jammu and Kashmir, despite political pressure, and said it was "an enabler" for soldiers to fight militancy in an asymmetric environment.

Addressing reporters before Army Day, Singh had said that soldiers in the state work in an environment where it was difficult to differentiate between friend and foe as militants mingle with civilian population.

"These are enablers. They give additional powers," he said, adding "There should not be dilution of AFPSA."

He also said that such amendments should be made after consulting all stake holders.

The Army Chief has a point. In an asymmetric conflict zone, there is the need to ensure that every operation conducted by a security force is not hampered by legal red tape. However, sexual assault and crimes against women cannot be condoned under any legal provision and cannot be allowed to go unpunished.

Perhaps the JS Verma committee report will spur the talk with all stake holders that the Army Chief sought and a start could be made by allowing crimes against women to come under general law. Providing basic dignity and human rights to people already affected by internal conflict can never harm the sentiment towards security forces operating there. If it requires amendments to the AFSPA, then perhaps its time to start talking about it.

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is written like a personal reflection or essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style.(October 2010)

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), was passed on September 11, 1958, by the Parliament of India.[1] It grants special powers to the armed forces in what the act calls "disturbed areas" in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur,Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. It was later extended to Jammu and Kashmir as The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 in July 1990.[2] This act has been regarded as a shameful act, which perpetuated all the ills in India and hampering the development of the country. [3]

[edit]The Act

The Articles in the Constitution of India empower state governments to declare a state of emergency due to one or more of the following reasons:
  • Failure of the administration and the local police to tackle local issues.
  • Return of (central) security forces leads to return of miscreants/erosion of the "peace dividend".
  • The scale of unrest or instability in the state is too large for local forces to handle.
In such cases, it is the prerogative of the state government to call for central help. In most cases, for example during elections, when the local police may be stretched too thin to simultaneously handle day-to-day tasks, the central government obliges by sending in theCRPF. Continued unrest, like in the cases of militancy and insurgence, and especially when borders are threatened, are the armed forces resorted to.[4]
By Act 7 of 1972, this power to declare areas as being disturbed was extended to the central government.[5]
In a civilian setting, soldiers have no legal tender, and are still bound to the same command chain as they would be in a war theater. Neither the soldiers nor their superiors have any training in civilian law or policing procedures. This is where and why the AFSPA comes to bear - to legitimize the presence and acts of armed forces in emergency situations which have been deemed war-like by local leaders which led to the armed forces' presence in the first place.[4][6]

[edit]Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as "disturbed", an officer of the armed forces has powers to[7]:
  • Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning.

  • Destroy any arms dump, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence

  • To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.

  • To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.

  • Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.

  • Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.

  • Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government's judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.

  • Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.
For declaring an area as a 'disturbed area' there must be a grave situation of law and order on the basis of which Governor/Administrator can form opinion that an area is in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power is necessary .[8]
The Act has been employed in the Indian administrated state of Jammu and Kashmir since 1990.[2] It was withdrawn by the Manipur government in some of the constituencies in August 2004 in spite of the Central government not favouring withdrawal of the act.
In December 2006, responding to what he said were 'legitimate' grievances of the people of Manipur, Prime Minister Manmohan Singhdeclared that the Act would be amended to ensure it was 'humane' on the basis of the Jeevan Reddy Commission's report, which is believed to have recommended the Act's repeal, which never happened.[9]
Violence has increased in the past two decades since enforcement of the Act.[10] The state has created a "Gallantry Awards" pool for the arms forces which are awarded for elimination of insurgencies and conduction of operations. The term 'encounters' is used by the security forces to describe confrontations where it is deemed appropriate, under the provisions of the act, to employ violence.[10]
Protests began in Kashmir valley on Sep 10, 2010, on the occasion of Eid and turned violent on Sep 11, the anniversary of the controversial act. Indian Government is considering partial withdrawal of the act.

[edit]The Jeevan Reddy Commission

In 2004, in the wake of intense agitation [11] that was launched by several civil society groups following the death of Thangjam Manorama, while in the custody of the Assam Rifles and the indefinite fast undertaken by Irom Sharmila, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil visited Manipur and reviewed the situation with the concerned state authorities. In the same year, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh assured activists that the central government would consider their demand sympathetically.
The central government accordingly set up a five-member committee under the Chairmanship of Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, former judge of the Supreme Court. The panel was given the mandate of "review[ing] the provisions of AFSPA and advis[ing] the Government of India whether (a) to amend the provisions of the Act to bring them in consonance with the obligations of the government towards protection of human rights; or (b) to replace the Act by a more humane Act."
The Reddy committee submitted its recommendations on June 6, 2005. However, the government failed to take any concrete action on the recommendations even after almost a year and a half. The then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the withdrawal or significant dilution of the Act on the grounds that "it is not possible for the armed forces to function" in "disturbed areas" without such powers.[citation needed]
The 147-page report recommends, "The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, should be repealed." During the course of its work, the committee members met several individuals, organisations, parties, institutions and NGOs, which resulted in the report stating that "the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness." The report clearly stated that "It is highly desirable and advisable to repeal the Act altogether, without of course, losing sight of the overwhelming desire of an overwhelming majority of the [North East] region that the Army should remain (though the Act should go)."[citation needed]
But activists say the Reddy panel despite its recommendation for the 'repeal of the Act' has nothing substantial for the people. The report recommends the incorporation of AFSPA in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which will be operable all over India.[citation needed] On November 2, 2000, ten people were killed when a paramilitary force opened fire at a bus-stop near Malom in Manipur. Most of those killed were women and students. The firing was followed by a brutal combat operation also. A young lady, too shocked at the anarchical act of the state agencies, decided to begin a fast unto death demanding the repeal of the Act responsible for such brutality on the part of the state – the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. Thus began the fight of Irom Sharmila Chanu, the Iron Lady from Manipur whose fast completed 12 years this year on 5 november 2012.
The troops of 8th Assam Rifles were deployed in Malom to counter the 'insurgent' attack in the area. Those killed at the Malom massacre were L Sana Devi (60), G Bap Sharma (50), O Sanayaima (50), K Bijoy (35) A Raghumani (34), S Robinson Singh (27), Ksh Inaocha (23), T Shantikumar (19), S Prakash Singh (18) and S Chandramani (17).
Though Sharmila began her marathon fast in protest, the investigation into the Malom massacre has still not yet been completed even after 10 years. Following a directive of the Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench, in 2004 and 2005, the District and Session's Judge is conducting an enquiry into the incident. On January 7, 2010, a team of the court led by Th Surbala, the District and Session's Judge, Manipur East, conducted a spot inquiry at Malom and investigation is on into the facts and circumstances leading to the firing incidents.
Since November 2, 2000, Sharmila has been arrested under section 309 of IPC which punishes attempted suicide by a one-year imprisonment. She is released every year to be arrested again. A compartment in the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital has become her virtual nest, where the poet in Sharmila pens her verses. She turned down many requests to end her fast and expressed her firmness to continue her fast till the Act is repealed. She has been awarded with many laurels for her nonviolent contribution towards the human rights movement in north east India.

[edit]Non-state views and commentary

[edit]United Nations view

When India presented its second periodic report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1991, members of the UNHRC asked numerous questions about the validity of the AFSPA. They questioned the constitutionality of the AFSPA under Indian law and asked how it could be justified in light of Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR. On 23 March 2009, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay asked India to repeal the AFSPA. She termed the law as "dated and colonial-era law that breach contemporary international human rights standards."[12]
On 31 March 2012, the UN asked India to revoke AFSPA saying it had the no place in Indian democracy. Christof Heyns, UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said "During my visit to Kashmir, AFSPA was described to me as 'hated' and 'draconian'. It clearly violates International Law. A number of UN treaty bodies have pronounced it to be in violation of International Law as well."[13]

[edit]Non-governmental organizations' analysis

The act has been criticized by Human Rights Watch as a "tool of state abuse, oppression and discrimination".[14]
The South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre argues that the governments' call for increased force is part of the problem.[15]
"This reasoning exemplifies the vicious cycle which has been instituted in the North East due to the AFSPA. The use of the AFSPA pushes the demand for more autonomy, giving the people of the North East more reason to want to secede from a state which enacts such powers and the agitation which ensues continues to justify the use of the AFSPA from the point of view of the Indian Government." - The South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre[16]
A report by the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis points to multiple occurrences of violence by security forces against civilians in Manipur since the passage of the Act.[17] The report states that residents believe that the provision for immunity of security forces urge them to act more brutally.[17] The article, however, goes on to say that repeal or withering away of the act will encourage insurgency.
[18] In addition to this, there have been claims of disappearances by the police or the army in Kashmir by several human rights organizations.[19][20]
A soldier guards the roadside checkpoint outside Srinagar International Airport in January 2009.
Many human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned human rights abuses in Kashmir by Indians such as "extra-judicial executions", "disappearances", and torture;[21] the "Armed Forces Special Powers Act", which "provides impunity for human rights abuses and fuels cycles of violence. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) grants the military wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Indian officials claim that troops need such powers because the army is only deployed when national security is at serious risk from armed combatants. Such circumstances, they say, call for extraordinary measures." Human rights organizations have also asked Indian government to repeal[22] the Public Safety Act, since "a detainee may be held in administrative detention for a maximum of two years without a court order.".[23]
Activists who are working in J&K for peace and human rights include names of Madhu Kishwar, Ashima Kaul, Ram Jethmalani, Faisal Khan, Ravi Nitesh, Swami Agnivesh, Dr. sandeep Pandey and many others. They all accept that people to people communication and development of new avenues are the only way for peace, however laws like AFSPA are continuously violating human rights issues there.

[edit]United States leaked diplomatic cables

The Wikileaks diplomatic cables have recently disclosed that Indian government employees agree to acts of human rights violations on part of the Indian armed forces and various paramilitary forces deployed in the north east parts of India especially Manipur. The violations have been carried out under the cover of this very act. Governor S.S. Sidhu admitted to the American Consul General in Kolkata, Henry Jardine, that the Assam Rifles in particular are perpetrators of violations in Manipur which the very same cables described as a state that appeared more of a colony and less of an Indian state.[24][25]
Earlier leaks had also stated that International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had reported to the United States diplomats in Delhiabout the grave human rights situation in Kashmir which included the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees. This act is in force in Kashmir since 1990.[26]

[edit]See also


  2. ^ a b "(PDF) The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990" Indian Ministry of Law and Justice Published by the Authority of New Delhi
  3. ^ "Shame to India's AFSPA-1958"
  4. ^ a b Harinder Singh (July 6, 2010). "AFSPA: A Soldier's Perspective". Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
  5. ^ The Hindu (Chennai, India).
  6. ^ Anil Kamboj (October 2004). "Manipur and Armed Forces (Special Power) Act 1958". Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
  7. ^ "(PDF) The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990" Indian Ministry of Law and Justice Published by the Authority of New Deli
  8. ^ "Naga People's Movement of Human Rights vs. Union of India,1998".
  9. ^ "Humane garb for 'black law'". "The Telegraph". December 3, 2006. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  10. ^ a b IDSA strategic analysis: Armed Forces Special Powers Act
  11. ^ "MANIPUR ON FIRE". Frontline. September 2004. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  12. ^ "United Nations asks Indian govt to repeal AFSPA". IRNA. March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  13. ^ UN asks India to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act
  14. ^ "Crisis in Kashmir" Council on Foreign Relations
  15. ^ India: Repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act; 50th Anniversary of Law Allowing Shoot-to-Kill, Other Serious Abuses. Human Rights Watch
  16. ^ AFSPA South Asian HRDC
  17. ^ a b Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, 'Manipur and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958' "the alleged rape and killing of Manjab Manorama", "security forces have destroyed homes", "arrests without warrants", "widespread violations of humane rights", "The cases of Naga boys of Oinam village being tortured before their mothers by Assam rifles Jawans in July 1987; the killing of Amine Devi and her child of Bishnupur district on April 5, 1996 by a CRPF party; the abduction, torture and killing of 15-year-old Sanamacha of Angtha village by an Assam Rifles party on 12th February 1998; the shooting dead of 10 civilians by an Assam Rifles party in November 2000 are some of the glaring examples that are still fresh in the mind of Manipuris."
  18. ^ "Blood Tide Rising". TIME Magazine. January 18, 1993.
  19. ^ India
  20. ^ BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Kashmir's extra-judicial killings
  21. ^ Behind the Kashmir Conflict - Abuses in the Kashmir Valley
  22. ^ India: Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act
  23. ^ Behind the Kashmir Conflict: Undermining the Judiciary (Human Rights Watch Report: July 1999)
  24. ^ Nambath, Suresh (March 21, 2011). "'Manipur more a colony of India'". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
  25. ^>
  26. ^ Burke, Jason (December 16, 2010). "WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir". The Guardian (London).

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