GUWAHATI, July 12 - Discussions on the reduction in deployment of armed forces in the North-East must lead to a rethink of the use of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the region, Amnesty International India said today.
On July 11, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh discussed a possible reduction in deployment of Central forces at a meeting with the chief ministers of the north-eastern states. Singh told the chief ministers that the security situation had improved in the region.
�Worryingly, there was no discussion on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, which is in force in several north-eastern states, and continues to enable violations of constitutional rights and freedoms,� Amnesty International India said in a statement.
It said the Centre should heed calls by civil society organisations in the North-east to repeal the AFSPA and ensure accountability and rule of law. It also urged the government to urgently address concerns of impunity for alleged human rights violations by removing the requirement under the AFSPA for executive permission for prosecuting soldiers, pending its repeal.
�The Justice Verma Committee, set up to review laws against sexual assault, had said that 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, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness�,� it said.