India’s Controversial Military Law

Hundreds of school students took to the streets of India’s Northeastern Manipur state in protest against the controversial armed forces special powers act. Students took out the protest march in capital Imphal to commemorate the 12th death anniversary of Pebam Chittaranjan, the student leader who had immolated himself in protest of the British-Era Law. Despite calls from judicial inquiries and human rights groups, the Federal Government has kept in force the Anti-Terror Law, the AFSPA, in parts of northeast India and mainly Kashmir to allow the military to contain insurgencies. Among other powers, the AFSPA allows security forces to fire upon, or use force against, an assembly of five or more people, or anyone in possession of a deadly weapon. It gives legal immunity to the officials, so they can be neither sued nor prosecuted. The protest comes days after iconic hunger striker Irom Sharmila ended her 16-year fast vowing to join politics to take her fight against the law ahead.

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