ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fallout of Continued Use of the AFSPA

Gautam Navlakha’s commentary titled, “On Ending the War against Our Own People” (EPW, 19 February 2011) was insightful. Yes, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) simply gives the government the power to wage a war against its own people. An Act created temporarily to tackle “Naga hostilities” has been used in many parts of the country and has provided an unaccountable shield to the armed forces, especially in troubled areas like Kashmir, where its use has led to fake encounters, mass disappearances, nameless graves, the human shields at encounter sites, and torture, all which have resulted in the loss of faith of the masses in the security forces and the centre.

It is time for the Indian Union to have a relook at the Act and realise that it has not served the purpose of safeguarding security but has instead cost lives and injured the psyche of the common man. Under the garb of the AFSPA, there have been reports of murder of civilians by armed personnel in order to get rewards and promotions in border and far-flung areas of confl ict zones. The prolonged use of the AFSPA anywhere in the union will generate a geography of anger and hostility which can have undesirable ramifi cations. This is shown in Kashmir, where the Act itself has become part of the agenda of the secessionists and is helping to indoctrinate the masses, especially the youth, to come out in violent protest.

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