NEW DELHI: Hundreds of people, including human rights activists, social scientists, students and women, staged a peaceful protest demonstration in New Delhi against the imposition of black law — Armed Forces Special Powers Act, (AFSPA) and heavy deployment of Indian troops in occupied Kashmir and Indian north-eastern states in the name of countering the so-called insurgency.
The protestors demanded immediate repeal of the draconian law, which grants Indian troops the immense powers to shot anyone on mere suspicion and also withdrawal of troops from the occupied territory. The speakers on the occasion also demanded an end to Indian state terrorism in occupied Kashmir and north-eastern parts of India and urged provision of basic human rights to the people.
“We need to stand up in support of all those waging a peaceful struggle against draconian laws like the AFSPA,” said Onil Kshetrimayum, one of the organisers of the protest at the Jantar Mantar. “The northeast and Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of this martial law for 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 government of India for a public debate on it,” he said.
The speakers said that for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and north-eastern parts who have suffered at the hands of Indian troops for the past several decades under cover of the AFSPA, India’s Republic Day was a day of sadness. Magsaysay Award winner (Emergent Leadership, 2002) Sandeep Pandey, rights activist Sabnam Hashmi and students from various institutions took part in the protest.-SANA