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Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 should be repealed

Ms. Irom Sharmila Chanu -File image
An Open Letter to the President of India

We are convinced that under the current circumstances, the withdrawal of AFSPA will not in itself solve the Manipur crisis. Yet, it could be a bold and open step by the government to show that it is determined to find solution to an armed conflict that has haunted an entire generation in the state.


Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi
INDIA

Fax: +91-11-23017290

Dear President;

INDIA: Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 should be repealed

I am writing on behalf of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the 216 persons listed below to express solidarity to the ten-year-long fast of Ms. Irom Sharmila Chanu, the Iron Lady of Manipur and her cause.

Sharmila started her indefinite fast on 4 November 2000, in protest of the violence committed by the state and non-state actors in Manipur and the impunity they enjoy against the crimes they commit. We are aware that Sharmila's fast also demands an immediate end of impunity in the state, for which the withdrawal of the draconian law, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), from Manipur is a prerequisite. We are concerned about the ordinary people of Manipur and their unending suffering at the hands of the underground militant organisations as well as the state agencies operating in the state. 



We are aware that the AFSPA is enforced in Manipur to support government operations in the state to counter secessionist and underground militant activities. We are of the opinion that the present climate of impunity is one of the reasons why conflict continues in Manipur. We are certain that you will agree that the AFSPA has not helped in countering militancy in Manipur, but on the contrary, has enraged it. We are confident that you will also agree that AFSPA negates the very notion of the rule of law and democracy.

We are of the opinion that the AFSPA, is a legislation that contributes to the overall impunity framework in states where it is enforced. National bodies including Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee; the Second Administrative Reforms Commission; and the Prime Minister's Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir concur with our opinion. These expert bodies have recommended your office to advice the Government of India to repeal AFSPA. The experts have categorically mentioned that a law like AFSPA will only facilitate violence and will not prevent it.

We are convinced that under the current circumstances, the withdrawal of AFSPA will not in itself solve the Manipur crisis. Yet, it could be a bold and open step by the government to show that it is determined to find solution to an armed conflict that has haunted an entire generation in the state.

Additionally, withdrawal of AFSPA from Manipur will be recognition to the sufferings of the state's people and an expression of respect and acknowledgment of their inalienable rights.

We the undersigned, therefore request you to advice the Government of India to repeal AFSPA and take immediate steps to end the culture of impunity in Manipur.

Yours sincerely,

1. Bijo Francis, South Asia Desk, Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong
2. Kapil Arambam, India
3. Basantakumar wareppa, Human Rights Alert, India
4. Gunileima, Macha Leima, Imphal, India
5. Th. S. Devi, India
6. Beekay Khuman, Humanitarian Sector, Sri Lanka
7. Dhanabir Maibam, India
8. Laitonjam Lalit Kumar, India
9. Feroze Ahmed, HWVO, Kashmir, India
10. Sumitra Thoidingjam, India
11. Joysana Chingakham, India
12. Sr. Mariola, India
13. Moirangthem Sanahal Singh, Lamlong Diamond Club, India
14. Prakash Mohara, Jagaran Media Center, Nepal
15. Avinash Pandey, JNU, India
16. Divya, JNU, India
17. Irengbam Runita, India
18. Neha Hui, India
19. Dr. Mary Bachaspatimayum, Centre for Contemporary Theory, India
20. Arif Ali Khan, India
21. Manish Gupta, India
22. Irengbam Rubita, India
23. Chingangbam Anupama, India
24. Ashish Singh, India
25. Mrinmoy Das, Human Network, India
26. Yogesh Sharma, India
27. Waikhom Bronandro Meitei, Student, India
28. Zuzubee
29. Nicky Chandam, India
30. Francisco
31. Francisco A. Fernández
33. David, India
34. Rani M
35. M Kunjakishor, India
36. Parameshwari Devi
37. Nilantha Ilangamuwa, Sri Lanka Guardian, Sri Lanka
38. Kh James Singh, India
39. Khangembam Bangkim Chandra, India
40. Dr Aakash Roy, India
41. Dr.Koko Saka
42. Malem Ningthouja, Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur), India
43. Deepak Shijagurumayum, India
44. Devakishor Soraisam
45. Laishram Ananjoy
46. Soibam Bonee
47. Sinam Chingkheingamba Meetei
48. Indira Thounaojam, India
49. Mayengbam Pankaj Kumar, India
50. Samson
51. Sanatombi Angomcha, India
52. Santajit, India
53. Yangba
54. Raj Kumar
55. Harjeetsinam, India
56. Lee Gaokhuari
57. Rajdeep Kashyap, India
58. Rik Klose, India
59. Rishikanta Guruaribam, India
60. D. Gogoi, Assam, India
61. V. Lalchhandama, Student, India
62. Vedajit
63. Sanjiv
64. Mariam Nesa, India
65. C. Choudhury, Axom
66. Ningombam Robert Singh
67. Priyankan Goswami, Assam, India
68. Debraj Dhar, India
69. Laishram Surjit
70. Wangthoi Khuraijam, India
71. Rishidev
72. Sylvya, Indian
73. Jyotilal Longjam, Human Rights Alert, India
74. Rabi
75. Suprit Gupta
76. Charles Chasie, India
77. Johnson Chandam, Student, Kerala,India
78. Bishwarjit Khangembam, India
79. Irengbam Mona Meetei, Student, India
80. Priyobratta, NEDFI, India
81. Aeroshil Nameirakpam, USA
82. Surajit Sarkar
83. Amarjit, India
84. James, India
85. Dennis, India
86. Homer Soibam, India
87. Michael
88. Ibotomba Khuraijam
89. Desmond Coutinho, Kerala, India
90. Rina Mukherji, India
91. Ashok Sahyog, India
92. Parameshwari Devi
93. Mema Devi, India
94. Sukanta Debbarma
95. Shirin
96. Lanngamba Ningthoujam, Mando India R & D, India
97. Jurmila Thokchom, Human Rights Law Network, India
98. Gouramangi Namoijam, Kolkatta, India
99. Lembi, India
100. Haripyari Naorem, India
101. Ruchi Kumar, CIF, India
102. Roger Hawaibam
103. Michelle Fernandes
104. Uttam Chabungbam, India
105. Apurba
106. Aakash Jain, India
107. Dr. Kaushik Chakraborty, Agartala Govt Medical College & GBP Hospital, India
108. Rinchen Choppel
109. Syed Musaib, India
110. Khaidem Sashikanta
111. Kishalaya Bhattacharjee, India
112. Soibam Bonee
113. Balaji Ganesan, India
114. Shardool
115. Nagesh, USA
116. Priyadarshini Arambam, India
117. Ranjeeta Sadokpam, HRA, India
118. Naochi, India
119. Inaobi, India
120. Vidushi
121. Shreema Ningombam, Nambol.L. Sanoi College, India
122. James Daia, India
123. Sanjana, India
124. Sarah Ali Khan, India
125. Dr. M. Umakanta Singh, India
126. Tituraj, India
127. Anil Soriya, India
128. Waribam Bablu Singh
129. Jayashree Bose, India
130. Monica Poss, USA
131. Neha Panickar
132. Ksh. Gyanjit Singh, India
133. Lilananda Usham, Student, India
134. Tutu Hawaibam
135. Guno Ngangom, India
136. Sophia Vashalomidze, University of Halle, Germany
137. Christian Rademacher, University of Halle, Germany
138. Rinku Khumukcham
139. Saadut
140. Vijaya, India
141. John Fernandes, UK
142. Avinandan, India
143. Helen, India
144. Monika, India
145. Chabungbam Shivaraj
146. Durgesh
147. Sangeeta S
148. Budhista Yurembam, Macha Leima, India
149. Khangembam Monika
150. Pushpalata, Macha Leima, India
151. A B Singh, India
152. Ahongshambam Bony Singh, India
153. Thangjam Bicky
154. John Graham, USA
155. Lakshmikumari Kshetrimayum
156. Sarju, Macha Leima, India
157. Lai Imo, Ireibak (Manipuri daily), India
158. L.C. Bethebi, India
159. Sanasam Daljit Singh, India
160. B Prashant Kumar, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur, India
161. Luwangcha
162. Satyabrata Kotoky
163. Habung Grayu, National Institute of Technology, India
164. Punshi, India
165. Linnnma K, India
166. Rajiv Nongmeikapam, India
167. Amar, India
168. Dhayalan
169. Nagaraj Mysore Raghupathi
170. ldinesh, Student, India
171. Ratika Yumnam
172. Oinam, India
173. Rk Naorem, Student, India
174. Jugal Kishore Sonowal, India
175. Techi Tapu, Student, India
176. Dinesh Reddy, India
177. Vamsi, India
178. Amber Burrows, UK
179. Luit
180. Debasish Mohanty, Student, India
181. Nanao Ch, India
182. Momo U, India
183. Rajni, India
184. Satish Moirangthem, India
185. Goutam
186. Kanishka Kumar, India
187. Rudy Arredondo, US
188. Jayadevan Prabhakaran
189. L C Meitei, India
190. Krishnakanta Sagolsem
191. Mayengbam Ranjit Luwang, India
192. M Joykumar, India
193. Leiyolan Vashum
194. Vashum
195. Rahul Jain, India
196. Souven Roy, India
197. Soo A KIM, South Korea
198. Rahul Saxena, USA
199. Donald Tokpam
200. Dinendra Hijam
201. Navjit
202. Subhash Chandra Medhi
203. Ranjan Mondal, India
204. C Lalremruata, India
205. Prasanta, India
206. Amusana, India
207. Suni, India
208. James Angom, India
209. Laishram Ojitkumar
210. Bishwarjit khangembam
211. OInam Ibomcha
212. Chanchal Yumnam, India
213. Avis, India
214. Tarun, India
215. Prithiviraj, Australia
216. Anand Wangkhem, India
217. Hijam Bikam, India

For further information about AFSPA please read INDIA: AFSPA promotes armed insurgency in Manipur

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