The state of Manipur is poised to extend the enforcement of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for an additional six months, encompassing the hill areas, effective from October. Recent violent ethnic strife between the Meitei and Kuki communities complicates matters. The Army has requested the reinstatement of AFSPA in the Valley districts, citing the hindrance it faces in counterinsurgency operations due to the absence of the law. While it’s evident that AFSPA should not persist, the exclusion of areas that have witnessed substantial violence raises questions.
GS-02, GS-03 (Poverty and Developmental Issues) (Issues Related to SCs & STs) (Minorities) (Government Policies & Interventions) (Pressure Groups) (North-East Insurgency)
- Meitei Tribe, Kuki Tribe, Naga Tribe.
- 6th schedule, Inner Line Permit (ILP).
- Xaxa Committee
Examine the dynamics surrounding the extension of AFSPA in Manipur, particularly the exclusion of the Imphal Valley, in light of the recent ethnic conflict. Analyze the potential implications of this decision on the security situation and the need for reconciliation measures between conflicting communities. (250 words)
Dimensions of the Article:
- AFSPA’s Extension
- The Irony of Exclusion: Imphal Valley vs. Hill Areas
- Partisan Conduct: Government’s Stance
- The Need for Reconciliation: Preventing Escalation
- The decision to extend AFSPA in Manipur inevitably prompts the question of its continued relevance. AFSPA grants extensive powers to armed forces in designated ‘disturbed areas,’ which has long been a subject of contention.
- The law’s enforcement, even in the absence of imminent conflict, raises concerns about its necessity in present times.
The Irony of Exclusion: Imphal Valley vs. Hill Areas
- What adds complexity to the situation is the exclusion of the Imphal Valley from AFSPA’s ambit while extending it to the hill areas. This distinction seems ironic, given the recent violent clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities.
- The Army’s request to reimpose AFSPA in the Valley districts underscores its apprehensions regarding insurgent groups exploiting the unrest.
Partisan Conduct: Government’s Stance
- The government’s decision to maintain the status quo on the ‘disturbed areas’ raises questions about its objectivity. It appears that the exclusion of the valley districts from AFSPA may be perceived as a partisan move.
- While the government cites the inability to conduct a detailed ground assessment amidst ongoing law and order duties, the underlying concern seems to be the fear of displeasing the majority Meitei community.
The Need for Reconciliation: Preventing Escalation
- The situation in Manipur is fraught with the potential for further conflict, especially in the backdrop of the Meitei community’s animosity towards the Assam Rifles.
- The recent incidents involving vehicles resembling Assam Rifles’ trucks heighten the risk of escalating tensions. It is imperative for the central government to initiate a sincere effort to foster reconciliation between the conflicting Meitei and Kuki communities.
- The government must address the contentious issue of AFSPA’s extension judiciously. While the law’s necessity is debatable, the exclusion of areas that have experienced recent violence requires careful consideration.
- The government should prioritize reconciliation efforts between the Meitei and Kuki communities to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.
The extension of AFSPA in Manipur, particularly the exclusion of the Imphal Valley, raises pertinent questions about the law’s relevance and the government’s stance. It is crucial to strike a balance between security concerns and the need for reconciliation between communities. The government’s approach to this delicate issue will play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability in Manipur.