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Is there any viable alternative to AFSPA?

                         The mere mention of armed forces evokes the image of courage, bravery and discipline in India. However, in north-east India and Jammu and Kashmir, the picture is vastly altered. Military force is synonymous with fear, brutality and suspicion. The main reason behind this contradictory public image is the “draconian” law, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. It has vested the armed forces with absolute power mainly to aid fight against terrorism and insurgency. Several unprovoked arrests, tortures, rapes and deaths go unnoticed under the wraps of AFSPA.Unmarked graves have been found in the valley. Fake encounters and disappearances make headlines.  At times, it is a case of mistaken identity. Violence in Jammu and Kashmir has increased since implementation of AFSPA in 1990. Similar incidents are reported from the north-eastern states. 

Jeevan Reddy Commission (2005) had recommended repealing AFSPA and bringing a humanitarian law in place. However, no concrete steps have been taken by the central government till now. In areas where normalcy has been restored, AFSPA needs to be repealed entirely. Army presence without AFSPA can ensure law and order in those areas. 7 districts of Manipur are exempt from AFSPA as of now and largely, no untoward incidents have occurred in the region. Other recommendations include incorporating a few clauses of AFSPA to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which is applicable throughout the country. It can effectively counter Naxalist movement arising in parts of India.
In cases where armed forces need to be vested with special powers to maintain law and order, certain humanitarian changes need to be made to AFSPA. The detention period after (forceful) arrest should be modified to a maximum period of 2 years (Justice Verma Committee recommendation). Sexual crimes against women in particular cannot be condoned as a part of duty towards national security. No central government sanction requirements should be retained to initiate proceedings against public servants or army personnel alleged of crimes like rape.

The main deterrent against “humanization of AFSPA” is army resistance. The defense chief whips need to re-evaluate their stance. National security cannot be compromised with. So with human rights. The armed forces need to reinforce trust and faith amongst people of Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern states. The young mass should be mobilized and engaged in constructive pursuits instead of being suspected as traitors in their own country. Women must be treated with dignity at all times. All of this is much easier said than done. Beneath the tough façade of the army, there lies a flawed human – very much like us. Suitable arrangements (like psychotherapy sessions, etc) should be made in order to maintain a healthy mental balance of our soldiers. Most of them suffer bouts of depression and emotional turbulences. Government, armed forces and the people in general must aim to bring in peace and harmony. This is vital to ensure functioning of a successful democracy.


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I cannot remember my mother,
only sometime in the midst of my play
a tune seems to hover over my playthings,
the tune of some song that she used to
hum while rocking my cradle.

I cannot remember my mother
but when in the early autumn morning
the smell of the shiuli flowers floats in the air,
the scent of the morning service in the
temple comes to me as the scent of my mother.

I cannot remember my mother
only when from bedroom window
I send my eyes into the blue of the distant sky,
I feel that the stillness of my mother's gaze on my face
has spread all over the sky.

~Rabindranath Tagore
Note : This was one of  the earliest poems I read,loved and cherished.


Concealed by dark clouds
You keep shining.
Bright streaks of light
Dazzle me.
Enchant me.
And keep me waiting..
Waiting for you.

Amidst Soul-lessness

There is smoke somewhere. 
I cannot seem to figure out where. 
The lights are here, the music is here.
Has it been home here ?
Perhaps. Maybe when it did not rain.
Or maybe when it rained and it did not matter.
Maybe when I walked alone, smiling to myself. 
Or maybe when I realized I was okay.
Had it been always like this ?

Not really. 
Things clicked, took effort and blood. 
Did I do it ? Or the beasts did ? Maybe we both together,
Played this game. 
Amidst soulful solitude, it was love. 
Maybe appreciation.
Another journey, another dry spell. 
Will it ever be home again ? 

P.S. : Penned at Candies, Bandra on 11th January 2017