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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Nagaland adopts resolution demanding repeal of AFSPA

🔴 Massive protest rallies have been held in state capital Kohima, with the state Cabinet also recommended the law's repeal.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: December 21, 2021 7:20:19 am
The move came days after the Union government constituted a high-level committee to examine the possibility of the withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Nagaland. (File)

The Nagaland Assembly Monday unanimously adopted a resolution demanding the repeal of AFSPA, during a special session held in the aftermath of the botched security ambush that claimed 14 lives earlier this month.

Calls for repeal of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), which gives soldiers sweeping powers to arrest without warrants and even shoot to kill in certain situations, from Nagaland and other northeastern states have been growing louder ever since the killings in Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district. Massive protest rallies have been held in state capital Kohima, with the state Cabinet also recommended the law’s repeal.

Monday’s resolution, which was adopted by a voice vote, was moved by Chief Minister Rio, who said the “entire Naga society” had been calling for AFSPA to be repealed. He said: “This House must sound the desire of the people. The desire of the people is to repeal this undemocratic and draconian law.”

The Assembly session began with the legislators observing a two-minute silence in “memory and honour” of the 14 killed. The resolution condemned the “massacre in Oting” and demanded an apology from the “appropriate authority”. It also demanded justice be delivered “by applying the laws of the land upon those who perpetrated the inhuman massacre”.

During the discussions, Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton said “power and immunity” had led to “instances of gross abuse by members of the security forces” over the years. He said the Centre should seek the opinion of the state government before notifying the state again as a “disturbed area”.

“The state government has consistently opposed the notification declaring Nagaland as a disturbed area on the grounds that the overall law and order in Nagaland has been good for many years now. Further, all the Naga Political Groups are in ceasefire with the Government of India. The ongoing peace talks are proceeding in the right direction, giving hope of an early solution to the Naga political issue,” Patton said.

The House said it “appreciated and supported” citizens and civil society organisations in their demand for the repeal of AFSPA and “delivery of justice”, but called for democratic norms and non-violence to be followed.

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