CSCHR welcomes the release of Irom Chanu Sharmila,, urges immediate withdrawal of prohibitory CrPC s.144 from Ukhrul and Imphal Districts
Imphal, 20 August 2014
The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN (CSCHR), a coalition of twenty-four (24) indigenous peoples’ human rights organizations of Manipur in India’s North East region, welcomes the historic and far-sighted judgement and orders passed on 19 August 2014 by the District and Sessions Court of Imphal East District of Manipur for the immediate release of Irom Chanu Sharmila who has been continuously on a fast since 2000 for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 as victory of her and the people of Manipur’s moral and political stance. The court has decreed that her imprisonment under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code is not supported by any evidence that she is “attempting to commit suicide” and clearly pointing to her intention “in surviving to continue her mission of repealing AFSPA to reach its logical conclusion”, and that her “agitation is a political demand through a lawful means of repealing” the draconian law.
The Coalition would like to stress that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 facilitated extensive militarization in all indigenous peoples land and territories of Manipur. The Government of India refused to repeal the Act in spite of the recommendations of series of UN human rights bodies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo during her visit to Manipur in 2013.
The Coalition denounces the serious human rights violations, in particular torture and extrajudicial executions, perpetrated both by the Manipur Police along with the Indian Army under several emergency legislations, including the Armed Forces (Special Powers Act), 1958 all over the State of Manipur. The Justice (retd.) Santosh Hedge headed high-level Commission appointed by the Supreme Court of India had already confirmed the fake encounter killings perpetrated both by the Manipur Police and the Indian Army and paramilitary units operating in Manipur.
The Government of Manipur usually resorts to violent repressive measures, including prolonged invocation of Section 144 prohibiting conglomeration of 5 or more people under Code of Criminal Procedure, arbitrary detention and torture of human rights defenders throughout the State of Manipur, and in particular within the Valley districts.
The CSCHR fully endorses the appeal of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) for the immediate withdrawal of CrPC Section 144 that has been invoked in and around Ukhrul in Manipur for more than a month, and to end all forms of militarization and martial law governance.
The Coalition would like to urge upon the Government of Manipur to immediately withdraw the invocation of sections of CrPC in Ukhrul Town in the last month and the imposition of the similar restrictions in Imphal East and West Districts since the last more than one decade, and to end all forms of militarization in all indigenous peoples territories of Manipur under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. The coalition would like to urge upon the Governments of Manipur State and India to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and other emergency laws and policies in Manipur.