TODAY -

Naga bodies protest, petition PM to repeal AFSPA
Source: Chronicle News Service / NNN

Imphal, December 11 2021: Naga organisations in the state submitted a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958, as a pre-condition to the "forthcoming Indo-Naga settlement" .

The United Naga Council (UNC), Naga Women Union (NWU) and All Naga Students' Association, Manipur (ANSAM) signed the joint memorandum.

Naga leaders informed Newmai News Network on Saturday evening that they had submitted the memorandum "electronically" while the hard copy will be dispatched by "speed post" .

Earlier in the day, the Nagas staged sit-in-protests in all the "Naga district headquarters" of Manipur to condemn the "massacre of 14 Naga youths of Oting village, Mon district, Nagaland, on December 4 and 5 by the 21 Para commandos of Indian Army and Assam Riffles", the memorandum said.

It further said that the incident of such brutality is not new and "we will not be surprised by more in future so long as the AFSPA, that allows the Army to commit what it has done at the Oting-Tiru road (indiscriminate massacre), is not removed" .

It said "This act was enacted to annihilate the Naga movement for their self-determination but more than 6 decades of cases of death, torture, rape, detention, burnt down villages, groupings and all sort of unimaginable human rights atrocities under AFSPA has only brought India to the international attention with its shameful records on human rights and value for human lives," the memorandum added.

It then said that more than 24 years peace process and political dialogue is yet to result in an honourable and acceptable settlement, even though the Government of India has recognised the unique history and situation of the Naga people.

"Even with this historical recognition, AFSPA continues in its most heinous form as seen today by the world on the Oting-Tiru road," the memorandum also said.

It then said that when the Home Minister stated in the Indian Parliament on December 6, that firing took place because the vehicle carrying the victims refused to stop, he rubbed salt on the collective wounds of the Naga people.

"Was the Home Minister's statement sourced from AFSPA empowered agencies or from the eyewitness survivors and civil administration?" the memorandum asked.

It then said that the record must be set straight and the onus for the same lies with the Government of India.

"Having communicated our sentiments, we would now place pur demand that the undeclared war on Naga civilians by the Indian army should cease forthwith and repeal the AFSPA, 1958 as a pre-condition to the forthcoming Indo-Naga settlement", the memorandum demanded.

The Naga organisations then reiterated "what has already been placed repeatedly before the Government of India by the Nagas, the earnest urging for early settlement of the Indo-Naga political issue, wherefrom real peace, development and prosperity will be ushered in".

Meanwhile, Senapati District Students' Association (SDSA) together with its federating units Maram Students' Union (MKS), Mao Students' Union (MSU), Poumai Naga Students' Union (PNTM), Thangal Students' Union (TAJ) and Zeliangrong Students' Union (ZSU), Senapati Zoneon Saturday staged a sit-in protest at Senapati bazar against the cold-blooded massacre of the innocent Naga civilians by Indian Para Special Commandos at Oting village.

The protesters shouted slogans like, "We want Peace", 'We want Justice", "Repeal AFSPA", etc, during the protest.

Talking to media persons, Pung Mark, president SDSA, stated that the apex student body of the district along with its student units staged the sit-in protest to condemn the cold-blooded massacre at Oting village and appealed to the government to deliver justice to the victims of the incident.

He also appealed for immediate repeal of AFSPA from the land so as to ensure people of the Northeast India could live in peace.

Speaking at another sit-in protest organised by Naga Students' Union, Chandel at Japhou bazar, ANSAM general secretary AC Thotso informed that Nagas living in Manipur organised sit-in protests to condemn the infamous massacre of Naga civilians in Oting village.

People of the land have been facing such atrocities and terrors for so many years.

Bloodshed and tears never cease in the land with the promulgation of AFSPA and the subsequent militarization of the entire region, he asserted.

Saying that the government of India is waging an undeclared war against Naga people, the ANSAM leader asked, "How long the Naga blood should be shed?" Placards that read "We Condemn the Massacred of innocent civilians by the Indian Para Commandos at Oting, Nagaland", "AFSPA - DEMOCRACY'S BLIGHT", "AFSPA - Army's Weapon, People's Terror", " "Konyak brethren, we are with you", "Political solution is the only way", "Stop terrorism in our land", "Indian army vacate our land", "AFSPA can never win your war" were held by the protestors.

Kho John, president, United Naga Council (UNC), in his statement at the Chandel protest, stated that the federal assembly session of UNC prayed for the souls of 15 innocent civilians who were killed in Oting village, Nagaland while extending condolences to the bereaved families.

Meanwhile, Indigenous Women Forum (IWF), Conflict Widow Forum (COWF), Domestic Violence Survivors Forum Manipur (DVSM) and Christian Network of Positive Women (CNPW) jointly held a candle light vigil against the Oting massacre and demand repealing of AFSPA in front of Hapta Kangjeibung on Saturday.

Speaking at the protest site, COWF convener K Gangarani decried that Oting massacre has again reminded the people of the North East atrocities relentlessly being committed by the security forces against the civilian population under the immunity granted by AFSPA.

She further demanded that an independent inquiry committee headed by retired judge from Supreme Court should investigate the incident, government pay compensation to victims, repeal AFSPA from the NE states and justice delivered to victims of similar massacre that happened in Manipur.


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