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08 Oct 2006

The Apunba Lup, the representative group of Manipur civil society, along with Delhi groups which included Human Rights Law Network, Saheli, People's Union for Democratic Rights, Sama and Jagori today made public the report of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee, set up to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1958) (AFSPA). When a delegation of civil society groups met him on October 6, the Home Minister Shivraj Patil refused to make the report public, citing "government process" as the reason for secrecy. However, some parts of the report had already been leaked to the press.Irom Sharmila, poet and peace activist continues to be arbitrarily detained in the All India Medical Sciences since 6 October night, and is being prevented from leaving the hospital although the Parliament Street Police Station states that no case has been registered against her. From her hospital bed, she continues her fast to repeal the AFSPA.
The Jeevan Reddy Committee was set up in the wake of the intense agitation following the rape and murder of Manorama Devi in July 2004 while in custody of Assam Rifles, and the indefinite fast undertaken by Irom Sharmila since 2000 demanding repeal of the AFSPA. Although the Committee submitted the report to the government on June 6, 2005, the government has chosen to keep the Committee report under wraps for almost a year and a half.
According to the report currently in our hands, the Jeevan Reddy Committee unanimously recommends repeal of the AFSPA. According to the Committee, "...recommending the continuation of the present Act, with or without amendments does not arise. The Act is too sketchy, too bald and quite inadequate in several particulars."
While the repeal of the AFSPA is welcome, the amendments which could make the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 more draconian and allow virtual army rule all over the country, are absolutely unacceptable.
We continue to demand the repeal of the AFSPA, and reject any attempts to transfer its draconian provisions onto any other law. We also demand transparency in government processes, and urge the inclusion of civil society groups from Manipur, the north east and the whole country, in these discussions.
Apunba Lup, Manipur
Human Rights Law Network, Delhi

Saheli, Delhi

People's Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi

Sama, Delhi

Jagori, Delhi

[email protected]