AFSPA should be repealed, says Meghalaya CM over civilian killings in Nagaland

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Angry villagers’ burn vehicles of armed personnel after 14 civilians were gunned down by Indian army’s Assam Rifles in Nagaland. [File Photo]

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said that the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 should be repealed as he joined the growing chorus for withdrawal of the law amid the civilian killings in Nagaland.

Civil society groups, rights activists, and political leaders of the Northeast region have been demanding the withdrawal of the “draconian” law for years, alleging excesses by security forces with impunity under the cover of the Act.

AFSPA confers special powers on the armed forces in areas deemed as disturbed.

“AFSPA should be repealed,” tweeted Sangma, whose National People’s Party is an ally of the BJP.

The state Congress also supported the chief minister, urging him to convene a meeting for consultation over the issue.

“We must go all out to demand immediate repeal of this draconian oppression on our people. Kindly convene a consultation at the earliest,” Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh tweeted in reply to Sangma.

The AFSPA is in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council area), Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang, Longding, Tirap districts and areas falling within the of eight police stations at the Assam border.

The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) also demanded that the AFSPA be withdrawn for building a peaceful Northeast.

At least 14 civilians and an armed forces personnel were killed in a botched anti-insurgency operation and retaliatory violence over the weekend in Mon district of Nagaland, as per police.

Meanwhile, a shut down for six hours was observed today against the civilian killings in Nagaland. Apart from Nagaland, the Naga-inhabited areas are largely in Manipur.

The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), which gave the total shutdown call, also asked all armed forces not to make any movement during the bandh, reports said on Monday.

The NSF asked the GoI to set up a court-monitored committee, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to conduct a fair and impartial probe into the incident.

Expressing solidarity with the bereaved families, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council has called upon all its constituent member churches in the State to conduct special prayers on Tuesday morning.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was also scheduled to attend the funeral service of the victims, reports said.


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