Nagaland Assembly urge Centre to repeal AFSPA to facilitate ongoing peace talks

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The Nagaland Assembly, in its day-long special session, unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Centre repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 from the entire northeast, and specifically from Nagaland, so as to strengthen the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful political settlement to the Naga political issue.

“It is of paramount importance that the people’s voice is heard and respected. The House, therefore, once again appeals to the negotiating parties of the Indo-Naga political dialogue to bring the talks to its logical conclusion by reaching a settlement that is honourable and inclusive at the earliest,” the resolution said.

All the members, participating in the day-long discussion, vehemently condemned the massacre that took place in Oting-Tiru Village area in Mon district on December 4.

Slamming the “indiscriminate firing by the 21 Para Special Forces of the Indian Army in which 13 innocent people were killed, followed by killing of another innocent person by security forces at Mon town on December 5, and injuring 35 persons…”, the resolution said that the house calls for an apology from the appropriate authority, along with an assurance that “justice will be delivered by applying the laws of the land upon those who perpetrated the inhuman massacre and upon those who are responsible for the incident”.

“The house appeals to the citizens of Mon district, its civil societies, the citizens of the state and mass based organisations to extend cooperation to the government and its agencies in the collective efforts to demand justice, and to restore normalcy in the interest of all the citizens.”

Initiating the discussions on the AFSPA, Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Y. Patton stated that the Centre has been declaring the entire state of Nagaland as a ‘Disturbed Area’ by issuing notifications every six months, and thereby keeping the provisions of AFSPA operative in the state for the past many decades.

The latest notification issued by the Centre was on June 30 and it will be place up to December 29.

Patton said that the Centre seeks the opinion of the state government, before deciding on extending the notification, and the state government has consistently opposed the extension that the overall law and order in the state has been good for many years now, and on many crime and other similar indicators, the situation is found to be better than many other states.

Noting that all the Naga political groups are in ceasefire with the government, he said: “The ongoing peace talks are proceeding in the right direction giving hope of an early solution to the Naga political issue. The Government of India, however, has always, based on its own assessment, extended the notification declaring our state as a ‘Disturbed Area’.

“The sentiments of our people are strongly against the continuance of AFSPA anymore in our state, that we do not deserve to be designated as a ‘Disturbed Area’.”

MLA Chumben Murry said that the intention to hide the crime and misinforming the Union Home Minister to give a wrong statement in the Parliament further angered the people of Nagaland.

Chotisuh Sazo suggested the Nagaland Chief Minister to call upon his counterparts of the northeastern states to come together and urge the Central government to repeal the act from the region. He also urged the MPs from Nagaland to do the same with their counterparts from the other states of the region.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, on his part, thanked all the members who participated in the discussion.

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