The Home Ministry has recommended against repealing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, dubbed by its critics as “draconian”.
In a report submitted to the Cabinet Committee of Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry said that the report of the Justice B P Jeevan Reddy committee, which recommended repeal of the law terming it as “a symbol of oppression” should be rejected.
“We have recommended to the Union Cabinet to reject the report of Justice Jeevan Reddy committee,” a Home Ministry official said.
The Defence Ministry is also opposed to any dilution of the Act and has said that the forces operating in insurgency-prone areas are protected by the AFSPA from “harassment”.
The committee was set up in 2004, in the wake of intense agitation in Manipur following killing of a woman, Thangjam Manorama, while in the custody of Assam Rifles and the indefinite fast undertaken by activist Irom Sharmila.
The five-member committee, headed by Justice Jeevan Reddy, a former Supreme Court judge, had submitted its report on June 6, 2005.
The 147-page report recommends, “The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, should be repealed.”
The committee in the report observed that “the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness”.
“It is highly desirable and advisable to repeal the Act altogether, without of course, losing sight of the overwhelming desire of an overwhelming majority of the (northeast) region that the Army should remain (though the Act should go),” it said.
Various organisations in northeast have termed the controversial law as “draconian”. Ever since the killing of Manorama, Sharmila has been on an indefinite fast and had declared that she would continue her fast till the Act is repealed.