[Assam] UN panel urges India to repeal Armed Forces Act
Pradip Kumar Datta
pradip200 at yahoo.com
Tue May 8 00:02:18 PDT 2007
UN panel urges India to repeal Armed Forces Act
>From Our Correspondent
IMPHAL, May 7 The United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination under the International Convention on Elimination of all forms of racial discrimination has urged the Government of India to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act within a year and replace it by a more humane Act in accordance with the recommendation contained in the 2005 report of the Review Committee set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It also requested the Government of India to release the report.
U Nobokishore, convenor of Dialogue Forum, conveyed the United Nations move during an interaction with the reporters here on Sunday. He said, The Armed Forces Act was designed in 1958 by Government of India specially for the North Eastern States of India, therefore the Act is discriminatory to the people in this part of the world.
North Eastern states, particularly Manipur have been witnessing widespread public outcry now and then in view of the unwanted atrocities by the security forces in the name of Counter-Insurgency operations.
Considering the sentiment of the people,Government of India constituted a five-member review committee and the report has been submitted to the concerned authority two years back. But till date the authority is neither releasing the report nor implementing its recommendations.
Acknowledging the move, UNs International Convention on Elimination of all forms of racial discrimination seriously discussed the periodic reports of India at Geneva on February 23 and 26 last, says the Convenor.
According to the observations of the Convention, the Committee noted with concern that the state party has not implemented the recommendations of the committee to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act to repeal the Act under which members of the armed forces may not be prosecuted unless such prosecution is authorised by the Central Government and have wide powers to search and arrest suspects without a warrant or to use force against persons or property in Manipur and other North-eastern States which are inhabited by tribal people.
The authority should seek the prior informed consent of communities affected by the construction of dams in the North East or similar projects on their traditional lands in any decision making processes related to such projects and provide adequate compensation and alternative land and housing to those communities.
The UNs observations were made in connection with Governments move to construct mega dams like Lower Subansiri at border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and Tipaimukh Dam in Manipurs Churachandpur district.
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