Civilian Killings : Nagaland Cabinet Urges Centre To Repeal AFSPA, ‘Hornbill Festival 2021’ Suspended

Posted in Featured, Nagaland, Northeast


  • NET Web Desk

In an attempt to express resentment against the merciless killings of civilians through incessant spraying of bullets by Indian Armed Forces, the Nagaland Cabinet on Monday decided to urge Centre for repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

However, to express solidarity and maintaining a sense of oneness, the Nagaland Cabinet today called-off the remaining days of celebration for ‘Hornbill Festival 2021’.

The festival was supposed to continue for 10 days, which commenced on December 1.

After the horrific incident, at least 6 Eastern Nagaland tribes – Sangtam, Konyak, Yimkhiung, Khiamniungam, Phom, and Chang have withdrawn from the festival.

Its worthy to note that demands for the repeal of AFSPA has grown louder after the tragic incident.

The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which is a coalition partner of the government led by Chief Minister Neiphu Rio on Sunday urged government to take-up the matter with Centre and immediately repeal the law.

“When the Indo-Naga issue is nearing its conclusion, such random and dastardly acts by the security forces are unfathomable.” – asserted NDPP.

The Commissioner & Secretary I. Kitto Zhimomi, IRS announced that all festivities will cease from today. While the food stalls and stalls run by artisans & craftsmen will continue to remain open, as informed by DIPR Nagaland report.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister Rio on Monday demanded it’s repeal, while attending the funerals of civilians, who were killed due to the blank firing of Indian Army on Saturday in Mon district.

Citing it as “draconian law”, the Nagaland CM stated that the Act was enforced to tackle insurgency, then why is it not being removed now.

Its worthy to note that on June this year, the Centre had declared Nagaland as “Disturbed Area” and further extended the operation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for 6 more months. The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.

Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, asserts that once declared “disturbed”, the area has to maintain the status quo for a minimum of three months. Under this act, in a “disturbed” area, an officer has full power to warn, or open fire and other kinds of forces against the person who is acting against law.

On Saturday last, at least 13 civilians identified as coal-miners were gunned down by security forces in Mon district of Nagaland. Referring the killings as “unfortunate”, the Indian Army confirmed the incident.

“The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” – the Indian Army in its statement said.

The unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of army operation, which mistook the civilians as insurgents from the Yung Aung faction of the banned militant outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K).

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