8923 killed, 20 ‘disappeared’ under AFSPA, recounts AMUCO VP

IMPHAL, 21st Oct: Demanding institution of an independent body to investigate into custodial killings, the JAC against the custodial killing of G Jiteswar Sharma alias Gypsy, Th Satish, Th Prem, RK Ranel and Ph Naobi organised a sit-in protest along with locals at P Khonomphai village, Kangpokpi district, Sunday.

During the sit-in, the protesters shouted slogans demanding constitution of an independent body to investigate and deliver justice to victims of security forces' arbitrary actions and to initiate exemplary punishment of those responsible for extra-judicial killings.

Speaking on the sidelines of the protest, AMUCO vice president NC Modhuchandra conveyed that under the shroud of AFSPA 1958, an Act declared draconian the world over, around 8923 people have been killed by security forces while 20 remained missing till date.

Although many fake encounters and mysterious deaths, disappearances have happened under this law, only 1528 encounter cases are currently being heard at the Supreme Court, he added. Moduchandra further said that the state has been in turmoil ever since it was annexed to India and its people have been deprived of the fundaments rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Government of India has enacted Wild Life Protection Act and other laws to protect the wildlife. Even a Cow Protection Act was enacted for protection of Cows, but no law has been formulated to protect the people of Northeast region, especially Manipur, he observed.

Instead, the government of India imposed the AFSPA 1958 Act in Manipur and depriving the people of the state of their basic human rights. As a result, many people have been killed and many women sexually assaulted and forced to end their lives. The people, even to this day, fear that they could be killed under this Act any day, the vice president remarked.

Questioning how long the people of this state would bear this burden of being citizens of India, he stated that it is time for both the hills and valley to unite and stand up against this threat to their existence.

Khonomphai Village chief Lalboi Haokip remarked that the people of the state have always voiced their dissent against the atrocities committed by the Indian army and demanded repeal of AFSPA since long ago, but to no avail. Custodial killings and missing cases have prevented the victims’ families from performing their last rites, which is violation of human rights. Thus, it is time for the hill and the valley people to unite and demand justice for the custodial killings along with revocation of the draconian Act from the state, he stated. Women from 11 villages of the area took part in the sit-in protest.

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