Controversial AFSPA law can be a big nut to crack for BJP in upcoming Manipur Assembly poll
Controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA is a blazing issue in north- east part of India that gives sweeping powers to the military. This is especially important as Manipur is having Assembly elections in coming days for which Home Minister Amit Shah was visiting the state. This was his first visit in region since last year in December after the Nagaland firing incident and violence in aftermath and killed 14 people. Even before the incident, north – eastern states have been demanding withdrawal of the controversial law.
During his visit to Manipur, Mr. Shah who was campaigning for upcoming polls, chose to remain silent on the AFSPA.
Five years ago, human rights activist Irom Sharmila contested elections after breaking her long fast in protest against AFSPA, but failed to register a win despite assurances that AFSPA will be removed. This election in Manipur, the Nagaland incident has a big impact with renewed calls to withdraw AFSPA.
“We kept our promise of blockade- and bandh-mukt Manipur. I take pride in the fact that the Biren Singh government has transformed Manipur into path of peace. (Chief Minister) Biren Singh is a former footballer; he knows how to score a goal and also defend the goal post,” Mr. Shah said.
AFSPA has been a hot topic being cashed in by opposition parties in Manipur. All parties, except BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) have promised an immediate repeal of a controversial law in Manipur if brought into power.
Mother of two boys and widow Neena Ningombam, 46, is one victim of AFSPA among thousands. She still remembers the day when her husband was picked up by police commandos on way back from Imphal and shot dead in what was proved later to be a fake encounter. “Justice for me would be when the perpetrators would be given capital punishment. I really don’t think AFSPA will go. The political parties are putting this in their manifesto to get votes,” she said.