The tenth session of the Thirteenth Legislative Assembly of Nagaland (NLA) was held on Monday at the NLA secretariat in Kohima. After 14 civilians were killed in a botched encounter in the Mon district of Nagaland on December 4, demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act 1958 (AFSPA) increased in Nagaland.
On June 30 of this year, the Union Ministry of the Interior (MHA) extended AFSPA in Nagaland for six months. According to a notification from the MHA, the AFSPA will remain in effect in Nagaland until December 31, 2021.
Initiating the discussions, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton said that, in accordance with Article 3 of AFSPA, 1958, the provisions of the said law will come into force in any area declared a “disturbed area” by the central government or the governor of that state, if in either party’s opinion the area is in such a disturbed or dangerous state that the use of armed forces to rescue civil power is necessary. He mentioned that the Indian government had declared the whole of Nagaland state as a “disturbed area” by issuing notifications every six months, thus maintaining the provisions of AFSPA of 1958 in force in the state as of today. in recent decades. The last notification issued by the Indian government dates from June 30, 2021 and is operational until December 29, 2021.
He said the AFSPA provisions give unwarranted and excessive powers to the security forces to take several coercive actions such as search, seizure, arrest of suspected persons and the use of firearms, even to the point of causing death; for all actions that can be taken by the personnel of the security forces, a great immunity is granted to them.
Patton pointed out that power and immunity have led to many blatant cases of abuse by security forces over the years, the most recent being the terrible shooting incident in the village of Oting-Tiru. .
Patton informed that the Indian government seeks the advice of the state government before deciding to extend the notification for disturbed areas in the state every six months. The state government has consistently opposed the notification declaring Nagaland a disturbed area on the grounds that general public order in Nagaland has been good for many years now, and that numerous crimes and other similar indicators show that the situation is better than many other states.
Patton said the sentiments of the people are strongly against keeping AFSPA in the state and that they do not feel they deserve to be designated as a “disturbed area”.
TR Zeliang, who took part in the discussions, said there is no reason that can justify the killing of innocent civilians. He said that for a lasting peace in the region, AFSPA must be abrogated. Declaring that justice delayed is justice denied, Zeliang called for justice to be served on time and judiciously.
Higher Education and Tribal Affairs Minister Temjen Imna Along, who participated in a special one-day discussion on AFSPA 1958, said the Oting incident brought back memories of the atrocities being inflicted to the people through draconian law. He said there was no place for this kind of law in a democratic country like India.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said AFSPA had its origins in the political issue of the Naga and the armed insurgency that followed. It was enacted by Parliament in 1958 to give Indian security forces certain special powers to deal with the armed insurgency of the Naga; and it was only in effect in the Naga Hill district of Assam at the time. Removing AFPSA will help build confidence, build confidence, and remove feelings of alienation in people’s minds.
The Nagaland Legislature has called for an apology from the authorities, as well as an assurance that justice will be served by enforcing the laws on those who carried out the inhumane massacre and on those responsible for the incident.
The Indian military, in a public notice, said the military was investigating the Dec. 4 incident. “The public is requested that anyone with information including videos, photos of the primary source or any other original information (not transmitted or not from secondary sources) can kindly share by phone or SMS or WhatsApp Messenger or call the Army Exchange Help Line. The identity of the informant will be kept confidential upon request. The original documents / audiovisual recordings would be recovered at the source after having followed the legal procedure in due form ”.