Army Manipur

Army's Demand for AFSPA to Safeguard the Region

Editor Editor
Saturday, July 08, 2023
Army's Demand for AFSPA to Safeguard the Region

Unrest in Manipur: Urgent Measures Needed to Restore Stability

Challenges and Suggestions for Addressing the Ongoing Ethnic Violence

In Manipur, a wave of ethnic violence has plagued the region since May, resulting in a tragic death toll of nearly 120 individuals, while close to 3,000 people have sustained injuries. The situation demands immediate attention and effective measures to restore stability. Despite the presence of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles since May 3, following the directive of the Chief Minister, the absence of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) limits their ability to take direct action. This article delves into the reasons behind the need for AFSPA in Manipur and explores the challenges faced by security forces in tackling the unrest.

The Need for AFSPA:

One key reason why AFSPA is deemed necessary in Manipur is to ensure the maintenance of law and order, irrespective of instances of arson or looting. The legal system is responsible for upholding the rule of law, and any military action requires the presence of a magistrate. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, the scarcity of magistrates poses a significant challenge. The 63 detachments stationed in Manipur's valley do not have access to a magistrate, hindering swift action. Additionally, the deployment of the Reserve Force along the China border in Manipur further exacerbates the complexity of the situation. Complicating matters are local individuals, armed with illicit weapons, and Meira Paibis, a women's torchbearer group, who disrupt army and Assam Rifles operations by blocking roads and erecting makeshift bunkers.

Challenges and Suggestions:

To address the dire situation in Manipur, senior officers have highlighted critical challenges and put forth suggestions to restore stability and curb violence:

1. Ensuring Accountability: Senior officers stress the importance of establishing accountability measures to effectively address the ongoing unrest.

2. Retrieving Looted Weapons and Conducting Operations: Efforts must be made to retrieve the weapons that have been looted. Strategic operations should be conducted to accomplish this crucial objective.

3. Removing Roadblocks and Disbanding Meira Paibis: Immediate steps should be taken to remove roadblocks imposed by protestors and dismantle the presence of Meira Paibis, enabling smooth movement and access for security forces.

4. Taking Action against Anti-State Elements: Stringent actions need to be taken against cookies (drug users), militants, volunteers, or insurgents who work against the state's interests. Furthermore, initiatives should be undertaken to recover weapons within the defined boundaries.

5. Empowering the Spear Corps: To enhance operational efficiency, the Spear Corps should be granted full authority and control over all forces involved in addressing the unrest. A similar model has been successfully implemented in Assam.

6. Reevaluating AFSPA Application: While AFSPA is currently imposed in the hilly regions of Manipur, the suspension of the agreement by Meira Paibis in the valley necessitates a review of its application. Discussions with senior officials and the Home Minister have been initiated to address this issue.

7. Tackling System Failures: The critical question of whether system failures have contributed to the current situation in Manipur must be examined and rectified.


With approximately 40,000 security forces deployed throughout Manipur, it is disheartening that the region still faces instability due to system failures. National Highway 37 remains the only functional route, while the other highways are blocked. Recovering the looted weapons and establishing accountability are crucial steps towards restoring peace. The recent operation led by the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, resulting in the capture of the mastermind behind the ambush, showcases the commitment to curbing violence. However, challenges persist, necessitating immediate action and coordination among security forces, local authorities, and relevant stakeholders to restore stability and foster lasting peace in Manipur.