Armed Forces Special Powers Acts (AFSPA) grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in “disturbed areas”. Many things have gone and are continuing to go wrong since the existence of this act. The alleged rape case of a 32-year-old woman named Thangjam Manorama in Manipur (2004) and the recent destruction in Kashmir caused after the death of Burhan Wani (2016) are just a few examples. Perhaps our leaders should learn what was taught to spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility”.
Our leaders proclaim and debate and fight and say that Kashmir can never go to Pakistan, that Manipur is an integral part of India, they call out for peace. Yet, their actions don’t match their bold statements.
Normally in a family, if a member acts rebellious, then the others sit together and try to find a solution. So, why can’t our leaders try to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters in “disturbed areas”?
Cutting down the internet, using pellet guns, taking away the freedom of the press can provide temporary relief. It can calm down the current situation but it can create bad turmoils and whirls that can and will gulp down many. The kids, the teenagers and the youngsters of these regions are living under constant suppression, they aren’t free in this free nation. And the day they all decide to rebel, we will have nowhere to go.
Today, as all the media houses are talking about Irom Sharmila, we are forgetting that we have let her down. We had 16 years to give her what she wanted, we had 16 years to come up with a solution, to conduct a healthy dialogue but we failed miserably.
What Irom is doing in Manipur is exactly what many people in Kashmir are doing, fighting for their right to live as the citizens of this great country. The only difference is that Irom was harming herself and our brothers in Kashmir are harming others. Having said that, we all should aim that this fight harms no one.
We have already delayed a discussion in Kashmir and Manipur by years. It is time, that we take a stand and talk about our differences and find peace in this country.
Signing off with the hope that Irom gets what she wants and may there be no pellets to destroy any life.
Also Read: The Forgotten Manipuri women