Congress & NPF Slam Centre’s Decision To Extend AFSPA In Parts Of Nagaland

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Posted in Featured, Nagaland, Northeast
NET Web Desk

The Congress and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Thursday denounced the Centre’s decision to extend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in parts of Nagaland.

Criticizing the centre for extending the AFSPA for another six months in the northeastern state, the President of Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) – K Therie asserted that “since there was a complete ceasefire with all the Naga political groups and talks were on to find a solution to the Naga political issue, there was no requirement for a draconian law like AFSPA.”

“They (the Central government and Naga negotiators) should settle the Naga issue and not keep the solution in cold storage,” Therie said, adding that enforcement of AFSPA is a “meaningless provocation”.

The Centre has been holding separate talks with the NSCN(IM) since 1997 and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) since 2017. It signed the framework agreement with the NSCN(IM) in 2015 and an Agreed Position with NNPG in 2017. However, no final solution has been achieved to date with the NSCN(IM) remaining firm on its demand for a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas.

“We condemn the overarching approach of the central government in extending the draconian AFSPA for another six months under the pretext of law and order problem in major parts of Nagaland,” – informed the NSF president Kegwayhun Tep and general secretary Siipuni Ng. Philo.

Meanwhile, the NPF Legislature Party leader Kuzholuzo Nienu alias Azo said, “AFSPA is imposed only when there is lawlessness and insurgency problem but now the law and order situation in Nagaland is peaceful… by and large everything is so good. Therefore the extension of the Act in Nagaland is uncalled for”.

Naga civil societies, including Naga Hoho, also condemned the decision to extend the Act in parts of Nagaland.

The Naga Hoho general secretary – K Elu Ndang stated that “We look forward with hope for a peaceful resolution to the Naga political issue. However, with AFSPA in place, there cannot be a true spirit of peace and tranquility.”

“As mothers, we are very disappointed with the extension of the AFSPA in the state and other Naga areas, in the midst of peace negotiations and despite appeals for the repeal of this Act,” – stated the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) advisor Dr Rosemary Dziivichii.

Its worthy to note that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) across nine districts of Nagaland, including – Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, Peren and Zunheboto from October 1, 2022 to March 30, 2023.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the centre has also extended AFSPA in the areas falling within the jurisdiction of 16 police stations in four districts of Nagaland including five police stations in Kohima district; six police stations in Mokokchung district; Yanglok police station in Longleng district; and four police stations in Wokha district.

These 16 police stations comprise Khuzama, Kohima North, Kohima South, Zubza and Kezocha police stations in the Kohima district; Mangkolemba, Mokokchung-l, Longtho, Tuli, Longchem and Anaki ‘C’ police stations in Mokokchung district; Yanglok police station in Longleng district; and Bhandari, Champang, Ralan and Sungro police stations in Wokha district.

“Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak. Phek, Peren and Zunheboto districts in Nagaland and the areas in Nagaland falling within the jurisdiction of i) Khuzama, Kohima North, Kohima South, Zubza and Kezocha police stations in Kohima District; ii) Mangkolemba, Mokokchung-l, Longtho, Tuli, Longchem and Anaki °C’ police stations in Mokokchung District; iii) Yanglok police station in Longleng District; and iv) Bhandari, Champang. Ralan and Sungro police stations in Wokha District are declared as ‘disturbed area’ under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for a period of six months with effect from October 1, 2022, unless withdrawn earlier,” – the notification further reads.

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.

The demand for revocation of AFSPA gained momentum from different quarters of Northeastern regions, 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.

Besides, 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).

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