Protestors demand withdrawal of AFSPA from Manipur, J-K
25 January 2008
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi: Over 150 protestors, including human rights activists, social scientists and students, in New Delhi on Friday demanded immediate repeal of a controversial army act from Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and other northeastern parts and called for withdrawal of forces from these states, which they said were being 'wrongly' described as disturbed areas. The participants pledged to compel the Centre to respond to their demand for repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which grants security forces the power to shot anyone on mere suspicion. 'We need to stand up in support of all those waging a peaceful struggle against draconian laws like the AFSPA,' said Onil Kshetrimayum of Reachout, one of the organisers of the protest at Jantar Mantar. 'The northeast and Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of this martial law for nearly five decades and still the government is justifying the reasons for this unconstitutional law to be due to the disturbances in these states. 'There is a lot of vagueness in this disturbed area status and lots of questions need to be answered. We challenge the Centre for a public debate on it,' he said. The activists are planning a much bigger protest tomorrow. 'We are planning something big for tomorrow,' Kshetrimayum said. Magsaysay Award winner (Emergent Leadership, 2002) Sandeep Pandey, rights activist Sabnam Hashmi and students from various institution took part in the protest.