“Meghalaya – The Template Which Handled Insurgency Without Imposing AFSPA” : Former CM Mukul Sangma

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The former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who recently joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) giving a major blow to the party and its functioning across the northeastern state have recently cited Meghalaya as a ‘template’, for successfully handling insurgency without imposing Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

He asserted the same, while addressing the gathering during a candlelight vigil organized in Shillong in memory of the innocent civilians who were killed by the Indian armed forces in Mon district, Nagaland on December 4.

According to Hindu report, Sangma deliberating on the same, asserted that “The Centre should carry out a case study on how Meghalaya has dealt with problems such as insurgency and terrorism.”

“In this nation, every individual or citizen must have a sense of belongingness and we collectively build this nation. This is the essence of our democracy. Therefore, there should be no space left for any citizen to feel they are deprived of justice,” he said.

The act was passed by the Parliament of India to provide special legal security to the armed forces for initiating operations in the troubled areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. However, in 1990 the act was extended to the state of Jammu & Kashmir to deal with rising insurgency along the region.

After the heinous crime committed by Indian Armed Forces through incessant firing on innocent civilians by mistaking them as insurgents of Yung Aung faction of the banned militant outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), voices to repeal the AFSPA along Northeast regions got louder.

Recently, the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has also demanded for its repeal. However, on Monday – the Nagaland cabinet has decided to urge Centre for repealing the concerned Act.

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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