Thursday, September 16, 2010

“Most Peaceful State in India”=”Disturbed State”? - Mizoram and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 was enacted by the Parliament of India to enable certain special powers to be conferred upon members of the armed forces in the areas which were proclaimed as disturbed areas, which, during the time were the seven sisters of the north east i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The Act also applies to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Under this Act, all security forces are given unrestricted and unaccounted power to carry out their operations, once an area is declared disturbed. Even a non-commissioned officer is granted the right to shoot to kill based on mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so in order to "maintain the public order". The AFSPA gives the armed forces wide powers to shoot, arrest and search, all in the name of "aiding civil power."

The Mizoram Story

Mizos are believed to originate from Shinlung or Chhinlungsan, located on the banks of the river Yalung in China who migrated to India during the time of the great Mongolian wave of migration from China.

Mautam Famine

In 1959, Mizoram experienced a great famine known as “Mautam” which was caused by the boom of rat population as a result of the flowering of bamboos which fed on food grains and infested the villages. During this time, many organisations were formed to help the starving population and enable the supply of food to villages. One such organisation was the Mizo National Famine Front (MNFF) which later became a political movement known as the Mizo National Front (MNF).

Insurgency

The MNF was formed on 22nd October 1961 to free Mizoram from Indian colonialism and establish a sovereign state of Mizoram. In February 1966, armed militant groups captured the town of Aizawl and took possession of all government offices. It took the Indian army one week to recapture the town. The army responded viciously with air raids. This is the only place in India where the Indian Security Forces actually aerially bombed its own civilian population.

The birth of the most peaceful state in India

In 1986, the Mizo Accord was signed between the MNF and the Government of India which marked a beginning of the journey towards one of the most peaceful states in India. On 21st January 1972, Mizoram became a Union Territory and was given statehood on 20th February, 1987. The state of Mizoram, within its short tenure has managed to achieve the second highest literacy rate in the country at 88.49%. It is also the only state in India which is getting peace bonus from the central government over & above their normal budget.

Given the level of progress that Mizoram has made, it is high time that the Government of India withdraw the Armed Forces Act from Mizoram, which is more peaceful than any other state in India by all standards. A part from the obvious physical defects of this Act, the status of a “disturbed state” throws a bad light on the image of Mizoram. As of now, the general opinion even among the most educated of people at the most elite of colleges in India is that the whole of the north-east is disturbed. The irony is that many states in India where innocent citizens are tortured and murdered for religious and political reasons by religious and political fanatics are not proclaimed to be “disturbed”. One reason could be that if the government does such a thing, the rebels of these states will possibly cause some more violence to retaliate against their new status. Hence, I would not suggest that a “disturbed state” status be to these states. However, I do not see any problem in giving the “most peaceful” state in India its rightful status.


References:
http://www.hrdc.net/sahrdc/resources/armed_forces.htm
http://mizoram.nic.in/about/history.htm
2001 census India

9 comments:

  1. Up to the knowledge what I know about Mizoram and what I read here...I am very impressed and agree. Good work. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. TY I hope someday, they will listen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mimi, I doubt Mizoram has ever been under this Act..(Mizoram as a state). Cos, what was applicable to us when we were under Assam does not have to be applicable once we are a new state..

    ReplyDelete
  4. good you got started.
    well written :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ty Sweta, It's a good thing to pick up:) @James, just check out the links that I have referred to in the write up..

    ReplyDelete
  6. @my name :) Great post. we both have one thing in common. we are both very "mizo" :) keep on blogging..

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks my name..ni ee..Zo vah:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like this post and yeah i support and wish that mizoram remains a peaceful state
    ******

    ReplyDelete