ViBGYOR film Festival demands Immediate Repeal of AFSPA

In the context of different films on Manipur shown during Vibgyor International Film Festival with active discussions on the human rights violations in Manipur, we the participants, film makers and organizing groups of the festival request the Defense Minister of India, Shri A.K. Antony take note of the following facts and ensure urgent action:

1. The Indian Government has actively encouraged violence committed by the security forces under the draconian law -- Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA, 1958), which legitimizes any army personnel to shoot, kill and destroy a person or a property on mere "suspicion". We express our deep concern to the people of Manipur and strongly condemn the brutal forms of violence like murder, rape and torture taking place in different parts of Manipur.

2. .The United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination under the International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination discussed seriously the periodic reports of India (CERD/C/IND/19) at Geneva on 23rd and 26th February 2007.The committee Urged GOI to repeal the AFSPA within one year i.e February 2008. We hereby request you to take urgent notice of the fact that the period provided by the UNCRD is getting over within a few days from now.

3. Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission in its Report, 2005 has admitted that `the Act itself has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness'.It is so obvious to the participants of this film festival that the security forces have failed to provide security to the people of Manipur. We express our strong solidarity to Sharmila Irome who is still on a hunger fast even after 7 years. The participants of this festival would like to take this opportunity to remind you about your moral and ethical responsibility on the life of Sharmila Irom.

Therefore we the participants, film makers and the organizers of ViBGYOR International Film Festival demand that as the Defense Minister of India who hails from this very state of Kerala, immediate steps should be undertaken to repeal the Armed Forces Special Power Act, 1958 in conformity with the long felt needs and demands of the people of Manipur which is supported by Justice Reddy's Review Commission Report (2005) and also other recommendations such as UNCERD.
-The Participants, Film Makers and Organisers of ViBGYOR International Film Festival, Trichur, Kerala State. Dated: February 17, 2008.