Naga Outfits Call Out Centre’s Decision To Extend AFSPA By 6 Months

REPRESENTATIVE
REPRESENTATIVE

The decision comes days after the Centre had constituted a high-level committee to examine the possibility of withdrawal of the controversial law from Nagaland.

Prominent Naga outfits have raised their concerns with the Centre's decision to extend the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act by another six months, calling it "unacceptable" and made with the intention to "suppress Nagas for generations to come".

The Centre declared the entire state of Nagaland a "disturbed area" on Thursday for another six months with effect from December 30 under the AFSPA and also termed the situation there as "disturbed and dangerous".

The decision comes days after the Centre had constituted a high-level committee to examine the possibility of withdrawal of the controversial law from Nagaland.

The general secretary of Naga Hoho, an influential body of Naga tribes in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland, K Elu Ndang, "Government of India has ignored the wishes of the Naga People…All Naga people have been pleading with the GoI and constantly pressing for repeal of the Act. Naga people don't accept it. We will go to any extent to press the GoI to repeal the Act".

Alleging that it was the armed forces and not the common people or Naga political groups were creating law and order problems, he further said, "As long as the Army is empowered to shoot and kill innocent people, there cannot be a peaceful environment in our land".

R Tsapikiu Sangtam, the president of Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) said that the outfit has called a meeting on January 7 to discuss the extension of AFSPA.

The convenor of Global Naga Forum, Chuba Ozukum, a former president of Naga Student's Federation, said protest against the law here been like "shouting in the wilderness".

He added that the Naga political issue would not have dragged for so long had the Centre been serious about resolving it, and claimed the killing of civilians earlier this month in Oting in Mon district by security forces was aimed at "breaking the ceasefire" but it did not succeed.

Alleging that the Centre's intention was not to settle the political problem but to suppress the people for generations, Ozukum claimed that the AFSPA was extended to "undermine the rights" of the Nagas.

The Naga Mother's Association (NMA) advisor Prof Rosemary Dzuvichu, talking about the extension said that it should not have happened amid protests by civilians and the ongoing investigation into the killings in the Mon district of the state.

She further insisted that the extension of AFSPA was avoidable, saying, "The measure amounts to challenging the Nagas".

She added, "We are shocked because this is an insult, especially to the grieving mothers, women and to all of us who have suffered under AFSPA for generations. We are the third generation to be reeling under the Act. It's time for Nagas to rethink our position with regard to the GoI".

Notably, since the incident of killings of innocent civilians in Nagaland's on district during a botched operation by the security forces, there has been a huge uproar in the northeast and especially in the state against the AFPSA and there are renewed calls to strike down the draconian law.

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