The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was passed on September 11, 1958, by Parliament of India. It conferred special powers upon the Indian armed forces in locations specified as 'disturbed area in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. In July 1990, it was also extended to Jammu and Kashmir. AFSPA is one of the more draconian legislations that the Indian Parliament has passed in its 62 years of parliamentary history. Under this act, all security forces are given unrestricted and unaccounted powers to carry out their operations, once an area is declared disturbed. Even a non-commissioned officer is granted the right to shoot to kill based on mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so in order to maintain the public order. According to AFSPA, the armed forces have powers to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law against an assembly of five or more persons or on the possession of deadly weapons; to arrest without a warrant and with the use of necessary force anyone who has committed certain offences or is suspected of having done so; and to enter and search any premises in order to make such arrests. Thus, the enforcement of the AFSPA has resulted in innumerable incidents of arbitrary detention, torture, rape, and looting by security personnel. This legislation is sought to be justified by the Indian government on the plea that it is required to stop the northeast states from seceding from the Indian Union. However, the ancient Kingdom of Manipur, which was not desirous of entering the Indian Union, after the departure of the British, reconstituted itself as a constitutional monarchy in 1947. The Indian government, out of treachery, in 1949 invited the king to a meeting on the pretext of discussing the deteriorating law and order situation in the state at Shillong. Upon his arrival, the king was allegedly forced to sign under duress the merger agreement, the assembly was dissolved and Manipur was taken over by the Indian government, much to the chagrin of its people, who undertook an uprising, which was brutally suppressed. Then the Nagas story is equally pathetic. As early as 1929, the Naga National Council (NNC), aspiring for a common homeland and self-governance petitioned the Simon Commission, which was examining the feasibility of future of self-governance of India because the Nagas were not ready to become Indian subjects. The NNC proclaimed Nagalands independence. In retaliation, Indian authorities arrested the Naga leaders. An armed struggle ensued and there were large casualties on both sides. The AFSPA is certainly the product of this tension. Similarly, in Assam, a fear of immigrant invasion was at the root of a student movement in the early 80s. The student leaders formed a political party called the Assam Gana Parisad (AGP) and contested state elections and won. In 1984, the Assam Accord was signed with the central government, which was never implemented. The failure of the AGP to bring about change in the state of Assam fostered the growth of the armed and overtly secessionist United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). In the Lushai Hills of Assam in the early 60s, a famine broke out. A relief team cried out for help from the Government of India. When none was forthcoming, the relief team organised itself into the Mizo National Front (MNF) and called for an armed struggle, to liberate Mizoram from Indian colonialism. In Indian-Occupied Kashmir, all norms of decency and civil behaviour have been set aside and AFSPA has enabled the Indian army to let loose a reign of terror on the hapless Kashmiris since it was invoked in 1990. AFSPA is in direct contravention of both the Indian Constitution, as well as International laws. It violates Article 21 which is the 'right to life; Article 14 which guarantees equality before the law; Article 22 that protects against arrest and detention; and the Indian Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which establishes the procedure police officers are to follow for arrests, searches and seizures - a procedure which the army and other para-military are not trained to follow. Under relevant international human rights and humanitarian law standards there is no justification for such an act as the AFSPA. When India presented its second periodic report to the UN Human Rights Committee in 1991, members of the UNHRC asked numerous questions about the validity of the AFSPA. They questioned the constitutionality of the AFSPA under the Indian law and asked how it could be justified in light of Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. No viable response was received. On March 23, 2009, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Nav-anethem Pillay asked India to repeal AFSPA; she termed the law as outdated and colonial-era law that breaches contemporary international human rights standards. However, to date Indian brutality continues unabated while the Indian army continues to receive awards under false claims of gallantry at the cost of innocent lives. The writer is a political and defence analyst.