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Naga groups condemn AFSPA extension, says ‘Naga Peace Deal’ can resolve all issues

The Centre has once again extended the controversial Armed Forces Special Power’s Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland.

The Centre has once again extended the controversial Armed Forces Special Power’s Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland. The move comes at a time when the call for the repeal of the ‘draconian’ act only grew louder in the wake of the killing of 14 civilians in the state’s Mon district on December 4. 

Amidst the widespread condemnation against  AFSPA’s extension, there are some prominent political voices that are questioning the demand for its repeal saying the real focus should be to press for an early resolution of the Naga peace talks. Once the ‘Naga Political Solution’ materialises issues like ‘AFSPA’ will be resolved ‘automatically’. 

Former president of Sumi Hoho, the apex body of the Sumi tribe, and working president of Naga People’s Front(NPF), Dr Hushka Yepthomi said that AFSPA was invoked due to the presence of insurgent groups in the state. The NPF working president said that once the political issue is resolved there will be no need for AFSPA. According to the former Sumi Hoho president, the demand for repealing AFSPA should have been the second point while bringing a peaceful solution to the long-pending Naga issue must be given the first preference.

Besides, Hushka Yepthomi also appealed to people to co-operate in the investigations into the Oting incident and condoled the loss of lives. 

Meanwhile, Nagaland Tribes Council(NTC) adviser Theja Therieh said that the trust deficit between the Government of India and the Naga political groups has led to the situation.

While the extension of AFSPA is a routine affair in areas designated as disturbed by the MHA, the move has grabbed attention as it comes at a time when there is a loud call for repeal of the Act from the state following the December 4th incident in Mon that led to the killing of 14 civilians.

In fact the uproar over AFSPA prompted the Nagaland Assembly to pass a unanimous resolution urging the Centre to repeal AFSPA from the State. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also informed that the Centre has formed a high-level committee to examine the demand for withdrawal of the controversial law after he held a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi last week.

AFSPA is being extended every six months in Nagaland, which has long remained a “disturbed area”. Declaring a place “disturbed area” is the first requirement for imposing AFSPA, a law that has roots in the colonial era. Nagaland’s rights groups and even the state government have been demanding the centre to withdraw AFSPA.

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First Published: 30th December, 2021 20:56 IST

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