Dr Lorho S Pfoze: ‘People of northeast have suffered… AFSPA should be repealed’

How did you raise the Mon issue?
The issue waspertaining to the massacre of miners who were returning from their work on December 4 in a small village called Oting in Mon district. This sort of an incident is happening every now and then in Northeast India… This has been so because of the special powers that have been given to them by the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. The people in the Northeast have suffered because of this very Act… it (AFSPA) should be repealed.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has already given a statement on the issue. It seems you are not satisfied with that.

I am not satisfied… In the full statement, some of the facts he laid out were misplaced. He said that this was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ or the security forces asked the vehicle that was approaching to stop, and that they did not stop and they were trying to run away. I think these not true… I don’t think this can be a case of mistaken identity because as per the reports we got from the field… they (miners) were ambushed and they were shot dead at point blank. They were not told to stop.

Will you write a letter to the PM or the Home Minister on this issue?
Yes, definitely we have to write because facts have to be laid bare.

Do you expect more steps from the Centre?
The government should definitely take action. Also, the people who were guilty should be booked. Every time, because such an Act has special powers, this has made the armed forces get off scot-free… there is violation of human rights… It has been too long. It is time. There are better laws that can also deal with it. We have also heard some of our north-eastern state leaders who have also mentioned that they have been able to deal with insurgency even without AFSPA.

Will you demand a discussion on this issue in Parliament or move a private member bill?
Yes, I will consult with my friends and fellow MPs from the Northeast, and then we will see how best we can put this forward.

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