Source: Nagaland Post
To express strong resentment against the imposition of Armed Forces Special Power Act (APSPA), the Naga students’ Federation (NSF), the apex Naga student body, organized mass protest rally in the streets of state capital and later converged at Kohima local ground for public address on Thursday. The protest rally was also simultaneously conducted in all the district headquarters of Nagaland and four Naga district headquarters in Manipur including Senapati, Tamenglong, Ukhrul and Chandel.
After public address programme in Kohima, a memorandum was submitted to Prime Minister of India through the Governor of Nagaland and also to Chief Minister of Nagaland. The memorandum was jointly signed by mass-based Naga organizations like NSF, Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers’ Association and Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR).
NSF president Subenthung Kithan told this correspondent that the same memorandum would be submitted to the chief ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh very soon.
Addressing a mammoth gathering, the NSF president Subenthung Kithan vehemently condemned the AFSPA, which authorized the Indian Army, without retribution, to arrest or kill on mere suspicion. NSF president asserted that with ongoing political negotiation and peace process between the Government of India and the Nagas any policy that harmed the atmosphere of trust and confidence should be summarily repealed at the earliest.
He said Nagas were peace loving people and did not want atrocities and brutality anymore and added that “enough is enough”.
NPMHR secretary general Neingulo Krome in a 3-page backgrounder speech on the works of NPMHR on AFSPA said that NPMHR as a human rights organization right from its formation started to protest the Armed Forces (special Powers) Act of 1958, the Nagaland Security Regulation of 1962, Assam Maintenance of Public Order, 1953, and others, which were earlier called “Black Laws” but was re-phrased to “draconian laws”.
Krome said he wondered if the Government of India was aware that AFSPA was not only killing the victims but was also taking away the very humanity of all Indian soldiers who were serving under the provisions of the Act.
Naga Mothers Association (NMA) president Abeiu Meru, in her speech, said the Naga mothers were deeply anguished over the continued imposition of the AFSPA and the extension of the Disturbed Area Act. “How long are we going to suffer the brunt of the Army atrocities on our men and brothers, our women, mothers, wives and sisters, on our children and remain helpless,” NMA president questioned.
She further said “our towns are filled with Military guns that try to muzzle us with fear and intimidation, our youth, our children have been wiped away on mere suspicions through fake encounter killings like the most recent Wuzu massacre and the Pangsha border killings of unarmed civilians and cadres.” Reminding the gathering of the Naga history, NMA president said she has seen the deaths of thousands at the hands of the Indian Army. Meru said that under AFSPA, which has been used indiscriminately, even in times of peace, thousands of women down the years have been raped, tortured and subjected to terrible disgrace, which cannot be imagined.
NMA president urged upon the chief minister and the state government to stand up for the people, protect their rights to live as a people with equal respect, and recommend for the repeal of AFSPA and withdrawal of the Disturbed Area Act.
NMA also appealed to the Government of India to prove their commitment to true peace and peaceful negotiations and ensure repeal of the AFSPA and withdrawal of the Disturbed Area Act at the earliest.
Naga Hoho secretary general, Mutsikhoyo Yhobu, in his address, said AFSPA was “a repressive Draconian Law and an obsolete law” that had no place in modern democratic civilized nations of the world.
He said the Act provided the Indian Army unlimited power and to act with impunity. Yhobu said under the protection of this controversial law, the Indian Army can give orders to shoot, arrest without warrant, enter any place and search without search warrants, frisk and search vehicles protected by legal immunity.
Naga Hoho general secretary also reminded the gathering that AFSPA has been withdrawn in Punjab after 14 years from 1983- 1997 of imposition and recently the government of Tripura had withdrawn AFPSA. However, he said the Government of Nagaland despite the hue and cry of public till date has not taken any steps for the withdrawal of the controversial Act.
He questioned whether the government of Nagaland was a people’s government and if it had any concern for its citizens and how could they justify that whole state of Nagaland was covered under DDA.
The formal public programme was chaired by NMA advisor Rosemary Dziivichii, invocation prayer was said by St. Joseph’s college Jakhama vice principal Fr. Anthony Dukru while vote of thanks was proposed by Kenneth Mao organizing committee.
At the end of the protest rally, NSF general secretary Boveio Poukai Duo led the gathering of more than 20,000 people in shouting slogans like “Indian Army- go back to barrack”, “Indian army-leave us alone”, “AFPSA – draconian law and Inhuman Act”, “repeal – AFSPA, long live Naga unity”.
The organizers informed that 32 schools, 16 colleges of Kohima town and Nagaland university Kohima campus students and public participated in the protest.