ⓘ Human rights abuses in Manipur, a state in northeastern India, have been an ongoing issue. As per the Manipur natives, the Indian security forces have committed ..


ⓘ Human rights abuses in Manipur

Human rights abuses in Manipur, a state in northeastern India, have been an ongoing issue. As per the Manipur natives, the Indian security forces have committed several human rights violations in the state while suppressing a separatist insurgency in the region. The insurgent groups have been known to kidnap and recruit children to work as child soldiers against the Indian government.


1. Background

Despite many attempts by Indian government to facilitate the development in the state, the state had failed in gaining the advantages for many reasons. Behind the poor condition of the state has been the ignorance of Manipurs peoples towards Indian Government and demands of separate nation. On many occasions the government officials including Engineers and Administrators posted in North-Eastern regions were killed and had been attacked by the insurgent groups, hampering of adequate manpower required for the development of infrastructure. Yet the government of India and the state Government taking many initiatives to take control of the situation.

The attacks on the Government officials and peoples from outside the region are still carried out by Terrorist groups and had been said that it is firmly supported by local peoples, is hampering the overall growth of the Human resources that is needed for the development of the region.

A separatist insurgency began in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur in 1964, although momentum to a more violent phase did not occur until 1978. The Separatists demand a sovereign state separate from the Union of India, conceding their grievances over lack of development, plundering of local resources and a general discontent in Manipur. Human Rights Watch, argues that human rights violations by Indian Security Forces have only fuelled the insurgency. It adds that the Indian Army have at times acted with impunity as anti-terrorism laws in the state make prosecution of human rights violators difficult.

There are currently 34 groups, including non-violent ones, that demand independence from India. In 1999, some of these groups coalesced into an alliance organization called the "Manipur Peoples Liberation Front." Of these, the three most prominent are the United National Liberation Front UNLF, Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak PREPAK, and PLA of Manipur. The UNLF is estimated to have 2500 active freedom fighting rebels, the PREPAK with 1500, and PLA with 3000.


2. Armed Forces Act, 1958

Due to overwhelming situation of violence by peoples of Manipur and insurgent groups, The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 was passed on 11 September 1958 by the Parliament of India. The legislation grants "special powers" to the Indian armed forces in regions which the act refers to as "disturbed areas".

The act has been in force in all seven northeastern states of India currently embroiled in a decades-old violent insurgency, including Manipur, for over fifty years. According to human rights organisation Redress, the Indian armed forces have abused power through privileges conferred in the act by using it as a manipulative tool to conduct "killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances." Yet there has been no strong proof of such actions by Armies, though the claims are still based on few number of incidents during the counter insurgency season of 1960s.

The acts continued application in Manipur have led to numerous local protests, with the most notable being that of Irom Chanu Sharmila, a Manipuri civil rights activist. Sharmila has been on a longstanding hunger strike since 2 November 2002 in which she has demanded the Indian government to repeal the act, which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of Indias troubled northeast. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called "the worlds longest hunger striker". Her cause has gained international attention. The situation demands the strong presence of Armies as police forces arent able to maintain law and order. Hence, the Indian parliament is still looking for a proper opportunity to lift the Act.


3. Child soldiers

There have been repeated reports of insurgent groups in Manipur kidnapping children to bolster their ranks with child soldiers. These children are then taken and recruited as. One recent report was on 18 April 2012, when three teenage boys were kidnapped as they watched a local football match.

The Manipur Alliance for Child Recruitment denounced the kidnappings, stating "International Human Rights Law prohibited the recruitment of children below 18 years as child soldiers".

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