The influential Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) on Saturday condemned the move of some women tying ‘rakhis’ on Indian armed forces personnel and demanded immediate withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Nagaland.
The NMA said in a statement that the organisation is shocked and strongly condemns the “questionable act of few Naga women tying rakhis on Indian armed forces personnel in Dimapur and Tamenglong during the recent Raksha Bandhan celebrations.
“For us Naga women, traumatised by a genocidal history of rapes, molestation, killings, and inhumane atrocities at the hands of Indian armed forces under the impunity of the AFSPA, it is a shame and a black day to witness our women tying rakhis and felicitating these very armed forces, when we are yet to see justice for war crimes and human rights violations committed against our own women, children and men,” the NMA said.
It said that whether it be an activity initiated by the BJP in Dimapur or student bosies’ obligations to the Assam Rifles in Tamenglong, the act of tying rakhis is unacceptable and questionable, as long as Nagas are forced to live under AFSPA in these areas and without justice for the past history of human rights violations.
“The haunting cries of the victims for justice in numerous incidents over the decades are yet to be heard,” it said.
The NMA statement, issued by its president Abei-U Meru and joint secretary Malsawmthangi Leyri, claimed that the “horrifying massacre of Nagas at Matikhru on September 6, 1960 by the 16th Punjab Regiment remains a Black Day till today, which is a record of extreme violation of human rights, whereby the army committed the barbaric beheading of our innocent villagers”.
The powerful civil society alleged that the “killings, tortures and rapes at Oinam and surrounding villages under Operation Bluebird, the Mokokchung arson, Pangsha fake encounter etc. are all still fresh in the memory of the people”.
It also said the recent press statement of Assam Rifles is unacceptable to Naga women, because “they are not in a position to sermonise in the face of such atrocities, nor is the objection to the Raksha Bhandan an issue about cultural practices or religious differences”.
“It is about the denial of justice on war crimes against Nagas, including women and children, under the imposition of AFSPA,” the statement said.
The NMA also urged the leaders of the BJP Mahila Morcha (women’s body) that instead of carrying out such objectionable programmes, they must join the Naga women if they are true Nagas who love their people, and raise their voices for the repeal of AFSPA.