When the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was first introduced in 1958 to militarily engage the Nagas and to hinder their call for freedom; people that valued and respected democratic values and principles deeply resented and opposed the Act for all that it stood and represented. The AFSPA not only gave non-commissioned officers the power to shoot to kill, but more importantly it protected them from any legal proceedings for acts of violations committed under the Act. It other words, it de facto upheld and legitimized violations of human rights. In due process, it sowed the seeds of impunity.
Since the advent of the dreaded AFSPA there have been countless instances of human rights violations committed by the armed forces on civilians. And considering that the Act prevents any prosecution, there has been little or no redressal for human rights violations. It has resulted in further alienating the people and in fomenting deep resentment against the AFSPA. This has proved to be counter-productive. The immediate effect has contributed in undermining India’s democratic position; and in limiting the possibilities of peace efforts to succeed. Its long-term effect is of greater concern. By legalizing impunity, the AFSPA has been the defining contributor in creating a culture of impunity. When law enforcers themselves don’t follow democratic processes, it is very likely that the civil population will have little regard for it.   
This culture of impunity perpetuated by the AFSPA has now slowly seeped into the Naga social and moral fiber as well. For a people whose culture was founded on principles and practices of accountability, the emerging trend of impunity and unaccountability is disturbing and grossly damaging. Now everyone seems to be acting as if they are all immune and unaccountable for their actions. The ethos of natural justice and the guiding framework of democracy have been undermined. Individual, organizations, villages, governments and non-state actors have all begun to take the principles of natural justice and due process of law upon their own hands. Not only are the principles of natural justice being interpreted according to one’s own convenience, they are being implemented according to one’s own will.
The culture of impunity is further reinforced and encouraged by corruption, wanton abuse of force and power; and most of all when punishable acts are left unaddressed and unpunished. When a person commits a wrongful act and is not reprimanded, it leaves a serious gap in the judicial process. For instance, Naga society has in recent times witnessed a number of rape incidents, but till date, neither customary law nor the judicial system been able to deliver fair justice. This not only creates a feeling of mistrust on the system, but more importantly it allows perpetrators to feel that they can get away for their crimes. The impact it has on the psychic of the society is tremendous and threatening.
It is very essential for the Naga society to work consciously towards erasing this culture of impunity and replacing it with a culture of accountability and justice. The source of impunity must be addressed, and it will be in the best interest of India and its democratic position to see that the AFSPA, which legitimizes impunity, is repealed.