Kohima, January 5 (NE): At a time Nagaland is expecting peace accord between Naga groups and the Central government, government of India notification on extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for another six months in Nagaland and asserting that ‘the whole state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition’ had created displeasure among the various Naga civil society groups, students’ unions, state governments officials and opposition parties.
Various Naga civil society groups, state government officials, students’ unions and opposition parties openly condemned and expressed resentment over the extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, AFSPA in Nagaland.
Opposition leader and former Chief Minister, TR Zeliang said Nagas got the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 as a Christmas gift instead of peace accord between Naga groups and the Centre and now extension of AFSPA has come as a New Year’s package.
Naga Hoho General Secretary, K Elu Ndang said AFSPA is not relevant anymore in a civilised society and its applicability has no place in the modern world. He said AFSPA is only a means to terrorise and create fear among innocent people.
Nagaland Tribes Council General Secretary Nribemo Ngullie said that there is no peace in the minds of Naga people under the draconian law and it is time that the Government thinks on how to soften AFSPA.
The Naga Student’s Federation (NSF) vehemently condemns and denounce the recent Government of India notification on extension on AFSPA. The NSF is appalled that a peaceful state like Nagaland is painted a picture of chaos and lawlessness by the aforementioned notification, as the world at large is witness to the fact that Nagaland is not what it is made to look like by the ill intended notification of the central government, it added.
A top government official told PTI on condition of anonymity that the state government always objects to the extension of AFSPA in Nagaland as and when the Union government seeks its opinion before declaring the state a ‘disturbed area’, but the law is extended every year and now it has become a routine exercise.
Naga Mothers Association president Abei-u Meru said there is no reason or situation for extension of AFSPA in the State.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, on December 30, 2019 asserting that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a disturbed condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary. The AFSPA gives the military sweeping powers to search and arrest and to open fire if deemed necessary for “the maintenance of public order” and to do so with a degree of immunity from prosecution. Nagaland has been under AFSPA for almost six decades now.
(Our Bureau with inputs from Air Kohima news)