- NET Web Desk
Amid the escalating demands to repeal the controversial law, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 from different quarters of Northeastern regions, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) once again extended the “Disturbed Area” status along the entire Nagaland state. Responding to concerned act, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) along with several tribal bodies and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) have expressed their resentment.
The NDPP have expressed extreme shock at the concerned notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, NDPP-led Nagaland Government is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to a statement issued by NDPP’s Media & Communication Committee, “at a time when the people of Nagaland were confidently under the impression that with the setting up of the high powered committee by the MHA to seriously examine and consider the repeal of AFSPA and removal of the disturbed area coverage, there would be no orders or notifications issued till the report of the committee was final, it has come as a rude shock and a huge disappointment to the people of the State that such a notification has been issued on the penultimate day of 2021. It is therefore, sincerely urged that the GoI reconsider and revoke the decision, especially in view of the fact that there is a mass movement against the AFSPA, with the Nagaland Legislative Assembly having loudly advocated the feelings of the people through the Assembly resolution of 20th December 2021 which has been submitted to the Government of India through the Hon’ble Union Home Minister.”
“Nagaland has been undergoing positive growth in the tourism and service sector and has emerged as a popular destination. But with unnecessary extension of disturbed areas and the imposition of the AFSPA, our efforts towards economic growth and integration with the mainstream will only be negatively impacted,” the statement said.
The statement issued by the NDPP’s Media and Communication Committee said that the ceasefire which has been in place for the last 25 years is working and there is relative peace and tranquillity and the overall law and order situation in Nagaland has been very peaceful with the state having also been acknowledged as the most peaceful state at many forums.
“In view of the fact that there is a mass movement against the AFSPA, with the Nagaland Assembly having loudly advocated the feelings of the people through the Assembly resolution of December 20 which has been submitted to the Government of India through the Union Home Minister (Amit Shah).”
“The MHA notification only belittles the high level meeting held between the Union Home Minister, Nagaland and Assam Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland and the Leader of the NPF (Naga People’s Front) Legislature Party and former Chief Minister of Nagaland on December 23 in Delhi,” it stated.
Its worthy to note that demand for AFSPA repeal renewed after the tragic incident of December 4, when innocent civilians identified as coal-miners were gunned down by security forces in Mon district of Nagaland.
The unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of botched 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).
Furthermore, 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.