Will the North East state witness the end of the brunt of AFSPA?
By Jon Pebi Tato
NATION-STATE: The gruesome incident that occurred in the Mon district of Nagaland has undoubtedly ignited the long-standing demand to repeal AFSPA (Arm Force Special Power Act) in the region, and it did seem to have paved its way when its HCM Neiphiu Rio outrightly stated, " Nagaland and the Naga people have always opposed AFSPA, It should be repealed".
Twitter was stormed with hashtags repeal AFSPA and it triggered the person on the responsible chair to ponder upon the matter which should never have happened.
Thunderous supports poured in with the Naga brethren from all over the North-Eastern states. The demand to do away with the AFSPA by the state of Nagaland has shot across the bows of the central government to re-visit the Arm force Special Power Act.
Meanwhile, the most celebrated Hornbill festival had been called off sighting solidarity to the deceased & the bereaved family.
Will the incessant storming of demands to repeal AFSPA have the Northeast state witness the end of the brunt of AFSPA?
The AFSPA was introduced in the north-eastern states to curb insurgency. It allows armed forces the power to maintain public order in ‘disturbed areas’. The armed forces can also restrict the gathering of five or more persons in an area. They can give a warning to a person breaking a law and open fire or use force in case the person does not comply with the warning.
What is baffling here is that the AFSPA having been imposed in so-called the "disturbed areas of Manipur, Nagaland, or Arunachal" has never been able to contain the growth and menaces of the insurgents which was its prime objective, sadly the number of the insurgents have doubled after AFPSA. The arm force's intelligence & its security policy is likely to be questionable.
Earlier this year in the month of June, in the exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 the Central Government declared that whole of the state of Nagaland to be a 'disturbed area' for a period of six months with effect from 30th June 2021 for the purpose of the said Act.
The home ministry at that moment clarified that the state of Nagaland is still a disturbed area and use of the armed force in aid of the civil power is the need of the hour, but ironically the killing of more than dozens of civilians by the 21 paramilitary troops in the pretext of the deceased being unidentified as NSCN insurgents went horribly wrong.
"This is not the first time, it has been happening since a long time I know" spoked the Student representatives of Naga Students in New Delhi to India Today.
"The draconian law should be ended " bellowed the denizens of Dimapur
GK Zhimomi a denizen from Nagaland posted on his Twitter handles the emotional song supposedly sung by the deceased Naga brethren before having been killed by the arm forces. The post was widespread across social media and received immense emotional supports from all over.
"We are given the Disturbed Areas tag. But the Indian Soldiers are the ones who disturb the peace and sanctity of the Hill Tribes. 17 civilians dead and counting. We are not animals." Twitted Hangsinghengous15 (Denizens of Nagaland)
The hashtags repeal AFSPA has been on since the 4th of December 2021.
Lately, the HCM Neiphiu Rio on its cabinet decision strongly voiced for the repeal of the AFSPA, now the state government has left the onus of repealing AFSPA on the shoulder of the central government.
"Repealing of AFSPA is a subject matter of the Centre. The Centre in consultation with the state government imposes the Act. However, after reviewing the situation, we are putting forward an appeal to the Centre for Afspa's repeal,"___ added Temjen Imna who is presently the tribal affairs minister of Nagaland.
In the Lok Sabha, National People's Party MP Agatha Sangma demanded Afspa's repeal. Speaking during Zero Hour, Sangma, an ally of BJP in Meghalaya, said a "condemnable" incident took place in the Mon district."
She further stated, " the incident also reminds us of an incident that took place in Imphal, in 2000, known as the Malom massacre in which over 10 civilians were shot dead. It prompted a 28-year old Irom Sharmila to go on a 16-year-long hunger strike,"
Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma also in his Tweet render his esteem solidarity on the repeal of AFSPA in the North-Eastern region.
Herein Arunachal Pradesh, the NPP leaders have shown their solidarity, apart from this the AAPSU and many citizens across the state have expressed solidarity for the fallen brothers of Nagaland, and on the demand for the repeal of AFSPA.
For the very first time in history, entire North-East states have voiced against the AFSPA unitedly, vehemently & outrightly.
On the other hand, the government claims that the removal of AFSPA from the region shall rather escalate the growth of insurgency & it will pave a way for an increase in terrorism in the North-East state which might further serve as a bottleneck in the progress and development of the region.
There is no guarantee that insurgents like NSCNs shall cease to exist.
The former MP and MLA Ruksin Shri Ninong Ering was seen suggesting a proper debate and discussion on the matter pertaining to the repeal of AFSPA in the region.
The people of NE states had faced the brunt of AFSPA for long enough. Will the NorthEast state witness the end of the brunt of the Arm Force Special Power Act (AFSPA)?