By Surbhi Agrawal, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.
It all started when Terrorism was at its peak in the State. AFSPA, i.e., Armed Force (Special Powers) Act, is a controversial law which gives sweeping emergency powers to the Army in troubled areas. This power is not only an inadequate power but an unlimited power which creates a fear in the mind of an individual. The Act was first imposed in Tripura in 1997 when the insurgency was at its height. Armed Force (Special Powers) Act was later enacted in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir when the State was in spurt of violence by the ultras. AFSPA provides an unlimited power to Armed forces like, to shoot at sight, arrest on flimsy pretext without a warrant, conduct warrant-less searches without consent, keep suspects in custody without trial and demolish structures in the name of “aiding civil power”. These powers result in some non-statutory powers, which are the result of human nature, i.e., increment in the greed, like power of raping, torturing, humiliating and also killing Indian Citizens for five decades without fear of being held accountable. They treat themselves as a king as they know that for acts, which are undertaken under the Act, they wouldn’t face any legal action. As the AFSPA protects the forces from litigation and investigation for counter-terror operations, it works as an excuse for army excesses. (more…)