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When The Army Rapes And Kills With Impunity, And The Government Looks Away! #RepealAFSPA

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By Suhas AR:

One of the basic duties that any government is supposed to perform, is to protect its own citizens. The police and the army play a massive role in doing the same. They are important in making people feel safe, to maintain peace and fight terrorists and other unwanted elements in our society.

AFSPA

Imagine then, the horror when you hear about policemen gunning down citizens of the country instead of taking them into custody, of murdering people in cold blood and least bothered about the rule of law and the sanctity of the constitution. Fake encounters have the potential to damage the faith a common citizen has in its armed forces establishment and the police force, people will start to think twice about helping the police, and moreover, where one is supposed to feel safe looking at the men in khaki, one starts to feel afraid. A lot of information sharing on the ground happens through trust and if the police force is seen as an undisciplined force that engages in gunning down people instead of taking them to court and proving them guilty, the aftereffects could be disastrous for a country like ours.

Government figures show that in the last four years, 555 fake encounter cases were registered across India, with a majority being reported in Uttar Pradesh (138), followed by Manipur (62), Assam (52), West Bengal (35), Jharkhand (30), Chhattisgarh (29), Odisha (27), Jammu and Kashmir (26), Tamil Nadu (23) and Madhya Pradesh (20). Only 144 cases out of 555 have been solved so far. Those numbers only include those cases which have been reported. It is fair to assume the number of real fake encounter cases could actually be even higher.

As recently as the 13th of November, the National Human Rights Commission concluded that 20 of the 42 encounters were fake and the remaining 22 were being examined. NHRC member Satyabrata Pal said , “The government failed to establish that these were exchanges of fire by para military or police in an exercise of right to self-defence. These are joint operations, police is acting under the umbrella of para military forces and the AFSPA ensures that even if we find that these cases are fake the army is not likely to take any disciplinary action.”

When crimes are committed by men in uniform, no action is taken against them as a result of the immunity they receive under AFSPA. Even the Justice JS Verma Committee constituted by the Government for measures to prevent crimes against women spoke of the immediate need to amend AFSPA and acts similar to AFSPA.

“You go to a place in exercise of AFSPA, you commit rape, you commit murder, then where is the question of sanction? It is a normal crime which needs to be prosecuted, and that is our stand,” a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar had remarked to the Solicitor General in 2012. Their observations need to be taken seriously indeed and amendments to AFSPA need to be made.

If a person in uniform commits a crime, they should be held accountable for it and should not be allowed to get away. Prior sanctions from the government should not be required to prosecute those accused of serious crimes. It should also be ensured that such cases as fake encounters are fast tracked and justice delivered at the earliest.

India as a country, as a democracy, as a protector of human rights and a believer in Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of non violence cannot afford to sit back and do nothing.

As Mahatma Gandhi once remarked “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” We would do well to remember that.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ved Prakash

    I m sorry but this Article is not about the Army of Republic of India,It is about the paramilitary forces and the police forces.The women in the picture,with all due respect, don’t really know the difference between the army and the paramilitary forces.
    I m in no way saying that things like these do not take place,all i m saying is the Indian army(not the para military,google it,you will know the difference) won’t do anything like this at all,but yet again,exceptions are there and the culprits strictly punished.

  2. Rahul raj

    Dear Team,

    The picture in above article is really not good or i say unethical as part of any online news. I am really making humble request to your team before putting any picture on your website please verify. Please delete the above pic.

  3. Jitender Kohli

    please don’t club such articles with Indian Army= Remove this photo too, if you respect the women folk=

  4. Monali Satav

    The situation in the north-eastern states is so unstable and chaotic that its just difficult for d normal administration to maintain law and order and this is d sole reason as to why the military and paramilitary forces are deployed in these region and given special powers. But when given special powers people tend to misuse it and this is what is exactly happening there. I agree there are increasing sexual assaults on women and innocent lives are being killed. The anger of people there is justified. But this happens to be only one side of the coin. Repealing AFSPA would not be prudent enough because aftermath of this the circumstances there would become all the more Instable and a complete chaotic situation might arise. Repealing AFSPA would lead to more violence and disorder as compared to d present. I think one should give a thought to this other side of coin as well. What we need is not complete removal of law but a intermediate solution to handle the sensitive situation in the north-eastern states.

  5. Rajat Yadav

    First of all, it’s wrong to place the Armed forces and the police in the same context and broaden the scope of allegations bought up against the armed forces in the recent past, thus creating a base to substantiate on the point of repealing AFSPA.
    AFSPA doesn’t give the army any unquestionable, unrestrained power to go about killing people. It only helps in facilitating its combat operations. One has to keep in mind that the hostile environment that the soldiers operate , AFSPA becomes a functional necessity. Any dereliction from duty or violation in following up the correct procedure to deal with situations where AFSPA is evoked are dealt very effectively by the Army internally. Machchil fake encounter case stands testament to this.

  6. indian

    this article isn’t about indian army its about para military forces so kindly remove the picture n don’t drag our army into this

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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