Armed Forces Special Powers Act: The Debate

IDSA Monograph Series No. 7

The debate over the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), has been raging within affected states, armed forces, central and state police organisations, human rights groups, legal fraternity and the central leadership. There have been different views and opinions voiced based on strongly held beliefs. This monograph attempts to present some of these diverse views, with the aim of capturing the ongoing debate.


-- G K Pillai

The Debate
-- Vivek Chadha

The History of Armed Forces Special Powers Act
-- Pushpita Das

Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Jammu & Kashmir
-- Wajahat Habibullah

AFSPA: A Demonstration of the Poverty of Liberal Imagination
-- Pradip Phanjoubam

Armed Forces Special Powers Act—The Way Ahead
-- Umong Sethi

To a Humane Face to AFSPA
-- Nilendra Kumar

Rights-based Critique of AFSPA
-- Devyani Srivastava

AFSPA in Light of Humanitarian Law
-- Ali Ahmed

AFSPA: A Case of Perceptions and The Losing Battle of Public Diplomacy
-- Shruti Pandalai

Recommendations: The Way Forward

I Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990
II List of Dos and Don’ts Directed by Supreme Court
III Extract of Judgment in Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights etc. etc. vs Union of India
IV Extracts of Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee Report

List of Contributors

Dr Ali Ahmed, is Assistant Professor at the Nelson Mandela Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Dr. Pushpita Das is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi. Her areas of interest include Border and Coastal Security, and India’s Northeast. She has written extensively on her areas of research and has delivered lectures at various training institutes. She holds a Ph.D degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Wajahat Habibullah is an IAS officer of the 1968 batch. He held a number of important appointments in Jammu and Kashmir during the peak of militancy and at the Centre, retiring as a Secretary to the Government of India. He was also the Chief Information Commissioner of India and is presently the Chairperson of the National Minorities Commission.

Maj Gen Nilendra Kumar was the Judge Advocate General (Army) from 2001-08. He writes on security and legal issues. Presently he is the Director of Amity Law School, Noida.

Shruti Pandalai is a television journalist specialising in India’s foreign policy, strategic thought and practice. She’s currently working as a research scholar with IDSA.

Pradeep Phanjoubam was the editor of the Imphal Free Press and is presently a fellow with the Institute for Advanced Studies, Shimla.

Maj Gen Umong Sethi retired as the Major General General Staff (MGGS), of Northern Command and has extensive experience of command and staff issues dealing with J&K and national security.

Devyani Srivastava is currently working with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in their police reforms programme where the focus of her work is to promote human rights and democratic governance. Additionally, she continues to do research on internal security, conflict management and conflict resolution.

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