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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

Nagaland: Centre urged to 'revoke and reconsider' MHA notification

Influential organisations such as Naga Hoho, Konyak Union and Naga Students’ Federation have also hit out at the AFSPA extension

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 02.01.22, 01:48 AM
The AFSPA gives the armed forces unfettered powers to search, arrest and shoot in areas designated as disturbed.

The AFSPA gives the armed forces unfettered powers to search, arrest and shoot in areas designated as disturbed. File photo

The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which heads the Nagaland government of which the BJP is a constituent, has urged the Centre to “revoke and reconsider” the MHA notification extending the “unpopular” Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in Nagaland for another six months “especially” when there is a “mass movement” against the contentious law.

NDPP is the second constituent of the Opposition-less state government after the Naga People’s Front (NPF) to have voiced its displeasure against the extension of the law that gives armed forces unbridled powers to search, arrest and shoot in areas designated as disturbed.

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Influential organisations such as Naga Hoho, Konyak Union and Naga Students’ Federation have also hit out at the extension.

The Union home ministry had on Thursday extended the AFSPA for another six months by declaring the entire state a “disturbed area” amid widespread clamour to withdraw the contentious law in the aftermath of a botched army operation that led to the killing of 14 civilians in Mon district early last month.

An NDPP statement on Friday said the extension had come as a “rude shock and huge disappointment” at a time the people of Nagaland were confident there would be no such orders or notifications issued till the final report of the high-powered committee set up by the ministry of home affairs on December 26 to “seriously examine and consider” the repeal of AFSPA and removal of the disturbed area tag. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three months.

“It is therefore, sincerely urged that the Government of India reconsider and revoke the decision, especially in view of the fact that there is a mass movement against the AFSPA, with the Nagaland Legislative Assembly having loudly advocated the feelings of the people through the Assembly resolution of

December 20, 2021 which has been submitted to the Government of India through the home minister,” the NDPP said.

The unanimous Assembly resolution had sought the repeal of the law, specifically from Nagaland, to strengthen the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful political solution to end the decades-old Naga insurgency.

Referring to the ongoing Indo-Naga talks, which is moving in a positive direction, the NDPP statement said: “...the Government of India must make efforts towards building confidence... By passing such unpopular and unwanted orders, the feeling of alienation will only grow. It is high time the narrative is reversed.”

The NDPP also made its displeasure over the use of the words “dangerous and disturbed” in the MHA notification, which the party described as “definitely misleading and inappropriate”.

The MHA notification had said the central government was of the “opinion” that the whole of Nagaland “is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.

The NDPP statement said: “The authorities concerned who pass such orders from far-off locations without any proper knowledge of the ground situation should wake up to present realities. The present situation is no more like what it was in the past... Today, Nagaland has been among the safest states for more than two decades and there has been no serious encounter with the security forces.”

The NDPP added: “The only major incident that shockingly disturbed the peace was the Oting incident of 4.12.2021, which had nothing to do with insurgency or law and order. It once again brought to the forefront of attention that AFSPA needs to be repealed and the tag of disturbed area needs to be removed.”

The NPF had on Thursday said it was “aghast and affronted” to learn about the AFSPA extension, adding the party was “committed” to the removal of AFSPA from all Naga-inhabited area through democratic means and will not “stay idle” till the Centre “reconsider” its decision.

Leading organisations have also been very critical of the extension with the Konyak civil society organisations declaring the extension a “total violation of human rights” while the Konyaks were “crying for justice”.

The 14 civilians killed in the operation involving 21 Para Special Forces personnel were from the Konyak community, which is the largest Naga tribe.

The Naga Hoho, apex body of Naga tribes, said it was also “extremely shocked” by the Centre attitude for “ignoring the voice of the Naga people as a whole”, adding the extension was a “direct challenge and a message from the Government of India to keep on crushing the inalienable rights of the Nagas”.

The Nagaland government-constituted SIT to probe the botched operation grilled the 21 Para SF personnel connected to the operation for the second straight day in Jorhat in Assam.

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