Hours after the Union Home Ministry extended the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland till June 30 next year, influential Naga civil society organisations (CSOs) on Thursday vehemently objected to the measure.

Three wings of the Konyak Union, in a joint statement, said that "they outright declare the measure a total violation of human rights".

"Adding salt to the wound, the extension of AFSPA is a calculated sign that undermines human dignity and value while the Konyaks are crying for justice. Tagging the region as disturbed when its people have totally denounced any form of violence and were yearning for peace.

"The integrity of the nation cannot be achieved without people's support and confidence," said the statement, signed by Konyak Union President S. Howing Konyak and other leaders.

It said that the extension is an act which is directly aimed at creating confusion and hurt among the Konyak Naga society at a time when emotions are running high, following the Mon incident earlier this month when 14 civilians were killed in an army ambush on the suspicion of being terrorists, and the ensuing violence.

"The army contingent, led by a Major General, that visited on Wednesday the incident place left a lot to be desired. The Konyaks were extremely disturbed and hurt to see the army contingent accompanied by the killers (jawans). The Konyak community does not view lightly the presence of the murderer in the same vicinity of the victims for at least a period of one year."

The statement said that unless and until there is a serious effort and desire to reach out to the people there can never be peace and harmony and AFSPA is definitely not the solution to this disharmony.

The Konyak Nagas have yearned for peace and integration with the rest of India but it looks like India is not interested in achieving peace or uniting the Konyaks and Nagas with the rest of the nation, said the statement, also signed by Konyak Women Wing President Ponglem Konyak, and Konyak Student Wing President Noklem Konyak.

Konyaks are one of the prominent among the 16 tribes in Nagaland, where over 86 per cent of the two million population is from the tribal community.

Besides the Konyak Union wings, several other organisations including the Naga People's Front (NPF), Naga Students' Federation (NSF) and the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) have been agitating to repeal the AFSPA from the entire northeastern region after the killing of 14 people and injuring 30 others on December 4 and 5 in Mon district of Nagaland.

Several allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party including the National People's Party (NPP) headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma and Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) have also been demanding to repeal the AFSPA from the entire northeastern region.

The Nagaland Assembly on December 20 passed an unanimous resolution to remove this Act.

On December 23, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with the Nagaland and Assam Chief Ministers and other leaders of Nagaland and and formed a committee to look into the withdrawal of AFSPA in Nagaland. The committee was to submit its report in 45 days.


Source : IANS

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