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MZP demands immediate repeal of AFSPA
 AIZAWL, Feb 24 - Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Mizoram’s apex students’ body, on Saturday strongly demanded the Centre to immediately repeal the “draconian” Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the entire Northeastern region.

The MZP, in its emergent meeting, voiced strong condemnation against the recent MHA order that gives power to the Assam Rifles to arrest and search a place without warrant, terming it as “AFSPA-like power”. The MZP also demanded that the order, which is now kept in abeyance, be permanently withdrawn.

The notification gave more powers to the paramilitary forces deployed in five Northeastern States, including Mizoram.

MZP president L Ramdinliana Renthlei said that the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), an umbrella of student bodies of the region, in which MZP is also a member, has strongly opposed AFSPA and demanded the Centre to repeal the law since a long time.

“We are hurt as the Centre has not only ignored our demands but even tried to accord Assam Rifles’ powers akin to AFSPA in five Northeastern States,” he said.

He felt that the notification is being kept in abeyance, the MHA has no intention to revoke it. “We will write to the Prime Minister to repeal the notification and the AFSPA from the entire Northeastern region,” he added.

The MZP recalled that the Government of India imposed the draconian law in Mizoram during the insurgency period from 1966 to 1986 allowing the Indian Army to “torture” the civilians. “Under the law, the Army committed numerous atrocities like arson, arrest of innocent people, and rape. The Centre must remember that the draconian law AFSPA has left many mentally abnormal, while many others were rendered homeless. The law has left unhealable scars on the people,” the MZP president said.

Though the Act was not extended after Mizoram attained Statehood in 1987 following the Mizo peace accord, it was not officially repealed from the State, sources said.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday issued a notification granting sweeping powers to paramilitary force Assam Rifles to arrest anyone and search a place without a warrant in border districts in five NE States – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram. The notification, was however, kept in abeyance three days later.

The notification will be revisited in consultation with the State Governments concerned, The Indian Express quoted unidentified MHA officials as saying.

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