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Disturbed

he crap in papers from your masterIt’s what you have given us
Piled together in empty explosive boxes.

For too long that you might have forgotten
When you did hurl it across
But do you see—

The tears that flow across the Nambul,
The blood that have turned
The verdant, lush fields into dull crimson?

Tell me you don’t know
The legal framework thing
The crap of colonial constitutionalism.

Two hundred years of serving the sahebs
All the gas of those dry chappatis
Your one-billion-year-old civilization

All of these you have bartered
With the dogshit in blood-smeared papers
Just to suppress

The countless motherland lovers’ feelings
Or to chain us to the frontier?


For an elaborate study on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 check the pages of the Human Rights Documentation Centre

In “AFSPA: legacy of colonial constitutionalism” [The Imphal Free Press, Nov 3 2010], Sanjib Baruah wrote:

‘Many postcolonial nations were born in crucibles of violence, in the words of a historian of Africa. During the last days of the British Empire, especially the period after World War II, Caroline Elkins reminds us, there were as many as 30 British counter-insurgency operations. Among them were the wars in Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. None of them were low-intensity operations; they were protracted operations where Britain routinely found itself in violation of international human rights and labor accords, carrying out such policies as mass detention without trial, torture, forced labour, extrajudicial hangings, scorched earth, food denial campaigns, and the like. India became independent before those counter-insurgency operations were in full swing. However, there is ample evidence that like most former colonies, it too inherited a host of institutions and laws that repressed political opposition and populist participation.

The AFSPA is part of that dark legacy. It is significant that [...] Pakistan and Bangladesh, both retain some version of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance of 1942 on which the Indian AFSPA is based.’

AFSPA Extended - An editorial of the Imphal Free Press on Nov 23 2010
The irony could not have been any worse, not just in content, but also in the timing. Even as the completion of the 10th year of hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu was being observed as an occasion to reflect on justice and peace in conflict ridden Manipur and the Northeast, the very object for her protest, the Disturbed Area Act, DAA, has been given another leash of one year.

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