Updated: December 9, 2021 4:28:17 am
The killing of 14 civilians by security forces in Nagaland calls for an “examination of the role of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)” and its possible “misuse”, the Trinamool Congress told the Union government on Wednesday amidst demands for the repeal of the law.
A delegation of TMC MPs met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and submitted a memorandum in which the party also demanded adequate compensation for the families of the victims and “exemplary punishment” for those found guilty.
About six civilians were killed in an Army ambush on a group of coal miners in Oting village of Mon district in Nagaland on Saturday. Following the killing, violence broke out in Mon in which eight more civilians were killed in firing by security forces. One jawan was killed and several security personnel were injured.
The Army said it laid the ambush after receiving “credible intelligence” about insurgents. The force has since expressed regret and ordered an inquiry into the matter.
“The latest incident at the Oting village of Nagaland bears testament to the horrendous possibilities of AFSPA being repeatedly misused. The killings demonstrate a total lack of accountability. This is not the time for cover ups or any effort to save face. The truth must prevail. The incident at Mon not only warrants a timely investigation into the events of 4th and 5th December, but calls for an examination of the role of AFSPA in the repeated instances of attacks on innocent civilians,” states the memorandum.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma have already demanded the repeal of AFSPA from the region.
AFSPA was enacted in 1958 to give the forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention after an armed insurgency began in Nagaland. Apart from Nagaland, it remains in force in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
On Monday, the TMC had cancelled a scheduled visit of a group of party leaders to Mon in view of prohibitory orders in the region. As part of its efforts to expand its base, the party has been trying to strengthen its organisational capacity in Tripura and Meghalaya.
The TMC also criticised Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on the incident in Parliament on Monday. Shah had attributed the incident to “mistaken identity”.
The statement “fails to express any alarm or concern at the blatant misuse of the AFSPA which is in operation in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Kashmir and certain other areas. It is imperative that we tackle the problem at the very root, without which we will not be able to alleviate the dire situation and arrive at a viable, permanent solution,” the memorandum said.
The TMC delegation comprised seven MPs, including Kalyan Banerjee, Sushmita Dev and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.