Manipur Under the Shadow of AFSPA

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‘Manipur in the Shadow of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958) is a documentary about the routine violence perpetrated by the Army in the North East, particularly in Manipur, in the name of national security. Highlighting the anguish of Manipuri people, the documentary puts the enactment and misuse of AFSPA in a historical perspective and the extreme resentment by the Manipuri people and civil society groups over the last five decades.


In a moving sequence, the documentary highlights the rampant lawlessness in a region where incidents of rapes, killings, army excesses, arbitrary detentions, tortures and repressions are the order of the day. That for the people of Manipur this dreaded law has brought with it tales of untold sufferings—midnight knocks, searches, forced captures, innumerable incidents of torture, un-notified detentions, instances of sudden disappearances and rapes more often just on the basis of a mere suspicion, and ostensibly in order to “maintain public order”.


While army atrocitites have often gone unnoticed or unheeded by mainstream media for decades, ‘Manipur in the Shadow of AFSPA’ shows shocking images of extreme resentment by Manipuri women that stormed Army Headquarters in Imphal earlier last year, following rape and brutal murder of Thangjam Manorama, and a protracted fight for justice by an indomitable Sharmila who has been on fast for last five years and is being nasally fed, forcibly, ever since.


Expressing grave concern over gross violation of human rights in the region, the documentary records eminent personalities from judiciary, academia, legal establishment and renowned human rights activists demanding immediate repeal of what they describe as ‘black law’.


Narrating tales of torture, sufferings, and inhuman treatment by the army, the film captures poignant testimonies of victims of this “black law”, one after another, before a “People’s Tribunal” in New Delhi earlier this year.


“Manipur in the Shadow of AFSPA”, is about one of the most draconian laws that the Parliament has enacted in its legislative history.

Supported by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)

Title: Manipur Under the Shadow of AFSPA
Duration: 52 minutes
Language: Manipuri, with English subtitles
Year: 2005
Director: Ajay Bhardwaj
Camera: Ajay Bhardwaj and archival footage
Editor: Sachindra Bisht
Producer: Harsh Dhobal for Human Rights Law Network ( HRLN) and ANHAD

July 16, 2005 Constitution Club, New Delhi, Organised by HRLN and ANHAD
Dec 3, 6 & 10; 2005 Celebrating resistance film Festival, Organised by Indian Social action forum, New Delhi-