Admitting that Irom Sharmila’s struggle had had significant impact, Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju has said many things need to be considered before a review of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
“A review of the AFSPA is not on the cards right now. The entire gamut of inputs from security forces, agencies, state governments etc has to be taken into account before a review is undertaken,” Rijiju told HT.
“While human rights is vital in a democratic set-up like ours, the country’s national security is supreme and is non-compromisable. The AFSPA issue needs to be considered in a much deeper manner and is not something that can be settled in a jiffy.”
Admitting that Sharmila’s struggle has had significant impact, Rijiju said he is open to meeting her in person. “Whenever she wants to meet me I am there,” the minister said.
Sharmila had been on an indefinite hunger strike for the last 14 years in protest against the AFSPA in Manipur. While she was under arrest for “attempting to commit suicide”, Sharmila was briefly released on August 19 before being re-arrested by Manipur Police.
Under AFSPA, in Kashmir and parts of Northeast, security forces have the right to take action without fear of possible prosecution.