'APEX COURT DECISION: A PARTIAL VICTORY OF DEMOCRATIC STRUGGLE' - SSSC
New Delhi HQ
With the recent decision (interim judgment) of Supreme Court of India in the case of EEVFAM (Extra Judicial Killing Victim Families Association of Manipur) as petitioner 1 and Human Rights Alert as petitioner2 Vs Union of India, a strong signal has been sent by the Hon'ble Court about 'Equality before Law' and 'No one is above law'. It also strengthens the trust of people in the various forms of democratic struggle.
Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) welcomes the wordings of the hon'ble court and believe that this will be seen as 'standard' by the government and presently deployed security forces in various disturb areas of north east and elsewhere. SSSC also see that despite the long (and often unsuccessful) struggle of various organizations, victims and human rights practitioners in various cases, the spirit of struggle through peaceful and democratic ways has brought such a ray of hope that not only relevant with the case filed (of 1528 extra judicial killings) but also with so many other cases (reported and unreported) and stories as such judgments bring a sense of understanding and it builds trust of common people in pillars of democracy.
SSSC also see that how this decision should also be read in contrast with the decision of Garo Hills where court has insisted 'to impose AFSPA' on Garo Hills as remedial measure. Here in decision of Supreme Court, it is very well quoted that deployment of army cannot be for indefinite time.
SSSC welcomes thoughtful words of Hon'ble court about the worry for kin of victims if they are entitled to have any rights other than receipt of monetary compensation. Quoting about 'Right to Truth' from 62nd session of Human Rights Commission by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, court observes that it is well associated in this case of extra judicial killings, and by this way, the apex court seems to have international standards on human rights issues that also gives positive signals for Indian democracy.
With the list of 1528 cases of alleged extra judicial killings, 62 among them have been elaborated with all details and 10 among them have been specifically referred to court as eye witnesses for them were also available. It was also appealed with the court that FIRs were not registered by police despite several complaints against armed forces. It is truly appealed in the petition that even Human Rights Commission in Manipur is non operational.
SSSC welcome that court has taken cognizance and cleared much of ambiguities through its interim decision. SSSC see it as partial victory of people who are struggling for human rights and democracy in peaceful ways in North East. SSSC believe that a widespread coverage of this judgment also reflects about how non violent ways actually brings the real change in democratic process that not only affect those who are doing struggle but also set a precedent for future.
'We also believe that in its final decision , court will ask for SIT (Special Investigation Team) for all these cases to get investigated and to make sure punishment for those who were involved in extra judicial killings. We see that Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence must also welcome it and this decision may pave the way for Govt of India to review and revoke AFSPA as well as to start giving sanctions for prosecuting security personal under civilian laws in case of complaints filed against them. '
SSSC takes it inspiration from all such peaceful efforts and also appeal Government of India to initiate meaningful dialogue with Irom Sharmila,who is in 16th year of her hunger protest and has adopted peaceful mean of struggle but that is largely ignored by government.
SSSC is writing to all political parties to extend support for Irom Sharmila and to ask government to take steps in this regard. SSSC also initiating next phase of its campaign to repeal AFSPA.
Convener- Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign
Ram Mohan Rai (Haryana), Zaheeb Ajmal (Bihar), Md. Tanveer (Karnataka), Jaychandran Ramchandran (Kerla), Devika (Delhi), Gufran Khan (U.P.), , Arvind Lodi (M.P.), Guddi Behen (Maharashtra), Deepak Joshi (Assam) and other members from J&K and North East states