Guwahati: A day after the tragic killing of 14 civilians, Nagaland chief minister Neiphu Rio, who on Monday attended the funeral services of those killed, demanded repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state.
Mr Rio told reporters, “I have spoken to the Union home minister and he is taking the matter very seriously. We have given financial assistance to the affected families. I have also urged the union government to remove AFSPA from Nagaland as the law is a black spot on the image of the country.” Mr Rio also announced that the state will observe December 4-5 as "black day" in memory of the 14 civilians who were killed by security forces late on Saturday and Sunday.
He said that an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh will be paid to the next of kin of the 14 deceased while the state government will bear the cost of medical treatment of the injured persons.
Meanwhile, the Mon district police have filed a suo moto FIR against 21 Para, calling the killings “murder" by the forces. The cops have said that the unit didn’t ask for a police guide for operations and the “intention was to murder". Security sources on Monday also clarified that the operation that went wrong was carried out by special forces (21 Paras) of the Indian Army, not the Assam Rifle.
After the killing of civilians in Nagaland the demand for the repeal of AFSPA has become louder in the north-eastern states with as many as four political parties of the region and two chief ministers from the northeast asking for the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, who is also the top leader of the National People’s Party, has also asked for the repeal of the Act that grants security forces considerable immunity while carrying out counter-insurgency operations and the right to use excessive force on civilians. In a tweet on Monday, Meghalaya chief minister, said, “AFSPA should be repealed.”
Meanwhile, state authorities on Monday clarified that 14 civilians were killed and 11 wounded in three separate incidents of clashes between security forces and civilians in Mon district since Saturday.
The incidents that started on Saturday has sparked wide outrage across Nagaland with all tribal bodies, political parties, Naga groups, students and civil society organisations calling bandh and protest against the blatant killing of innocent civilians in Oting village of Mon district.
The Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) called for a 12-hours bandh which paralysed the entire Eastern Nagaland on Monday. The ENPO, which represents six tribal groups, has also called all the community members to abstain from taking part in the ongoing Hornbill Festival and hoist black flag on their respective stalls as a mark of protest. Several other tribal Hohos have also called for bandh in their respective areas.
In view of the prevailing tension in Mon district, the state government has suspended the Internet services and prohibited all mobile internet, data services and SMS in the district with immediate effect.
The NSCN(I-M) which is holding peace talks with the Centre on the Naga political issue, also condemned the killing of civilians by security forces and said it is a “black day" for the Naga people. Such a barbaric act of killing innocent people is against humanity and those responsible for such heinous acts should be brought to justice, it said.