From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : AFSPA
Mains level : Controversy over use of AFSPA
- The controversial AFSPA was partially removed from Arunachal Pradesh, 32 years after it was imposed, said MHA.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
- AFSPA enacted by Parliament in 1958, is declared in areas where armed forces are required to operate in aid to civil authorities.
- Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts(AFSPA) are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces and the state and paramilitary forces in areas classified as “disturbed areas”.
- It gives powers to the army, state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.
- AFSPA is invoked when a case of militancy or insurgency takes place and the territorial integrity of India is at risk.
- Security forces can “arrest a person without warrant”, who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence” even based on “reasonable suspicion”.
- It also provides security forces with legal immunity for their actions in disturbed areas.
- While the armed forces and the government justify its need in order to combat militancy and insurgency, the Act has been associated with several human rights violations including fake encounters, rape, torture, abduction etc.
- The AFSPA – like many other controversial laws – is of a colonial origin. The AFSPA was first enacted as an ordinance in the backdrop of Quit India Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942.
- A day after its launch on August 8, 1942, the movement became leaderless and turned violent at many places across the country. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, VB Patel and a host of others had been put behind the bars.
- Shaken by the massive scale of violence across the country, the then Viceroy Linlithgow promulgated the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance, 1942.
With inputs from: