Nagaland, India, Dec 6 (Asia Free Press): The Chief Minister of Meghalaya- India’s north-eastern State, Conrad K Sangma, suggested that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 should be abolished, joining a growing reprisal calling for the law’s withdrawal in the wake of civilian deaths in Nagaland, according to local media.
Civil society organisations, human rights activists, and political leaders in the Northeast area have for years pushed for the repeal of the “draconian” law, claiming that security forces committed abuses with impunity while the Act was in effect.
The AFSPA grants the armed forces extraordinary authority in areas perceived to be volatile.
“AFSPA should be repealed,” tweeted Sangma, whose National People’s Party is an ally of the BJP.
Moreover, the State Congress backed the chief minister, encouraging him to call a consultation on the matter.
“We must go all out to demand the immediate repeal of this draconian oppression on our people. Kindly convene a consultation at the earliest,” Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh tweeted to Sangma.
The AFSPA is in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (except the Imphal Municipal Council region), Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang, Longding, and Tirap districts, and jurisdictions within the eight Assam border police stations.
Further, the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) urged that the AFSPA be repealed to foster peace in the Northeast.
At least 14 civilians and armed forces personnel were slain over the weekend in Nagaland’s Mon district in a botched anti-insurgency operation and retaliatory violence, police said.
Meanwhile, a six-hour shutdown was observed today protesting Nagaland’s civilian killings. Apart from Nagaland, the majority of Naga-inhabited places are in Manipur.
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), which issued the call for a total shutdown, also requested that all armed personnel remain stationary throughout the bandh, as reported Monday.
The NSF requested that India establish a court-monitored committee chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge to conduct an independent and unbiased investigation into the occurrence.
The Nagaland Baptist Church Council has requested that all of its component member churches in the State hold special prayers on Tuesday morning in sympathy with the deceased families.
According to reports, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was reportedly set to attend the victims’ funeral services. Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was also scheduled to attend the funeral service of the victims, reports said.