EXTENSION OF AFSPA AND WAR IN PEACETIME
The Morning Standard|January 06, 2022
It needs to be clarified that AFSPA and the Army are not synonymous. Therefore the general revulsion for this Act in the Northeast is not tantamount to an equal dislike for the Army
PRADIP PHANJOUBAM

A MIDST a chorus of demands for revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, in the wake of the botched Oting ambush in Nagaland by the Army killing 14 civilians, the Centre has decided to extend the promulgation of the controversial law in the state for another six months. The Act can be extended only in areas declared disturbed and this status can only be for six months at a time, indicating AFSPA was meant as an emergency measure, not a permanent remedy. The fact that this emergency has lasted for 64 years is itself an indication of something seriously wrong in the Act’s effectiveness.

Before going any deeper, it needs to be clarified at the very start that AFSPA and the Indian Army are not synonymous. Therefore the general revulsion for this Act in the Northeast is not tantamount to an equal dislike for the Army. In fact, the Northeast’s contribution to the Army at both the officer and soldier level is substantial. This clarification is essential, for often there is a tendency to see, nudged by those who would benefit from a flawed public vision on the matter, that all questioning of AFSPA is a challenge to the Army and Indian nationalism, preventing any rational debates or soul-searching.

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