Kohima: Hundreds of people took part in the ‘peoples’ rally’, organised by Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) here on Friday to demand repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and justice for the innocent civilians killed by security forces in Oting and Mon on December 4 and 5 last.
The programme was chaired by rally Organising Committee convener Vipopal Kintso and started from Old MLA Hostel junction to Raj Bhavan, where NSF president Kegwayhun Tep and North East Students’ Organization (NESO) adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya expressed solidarity with the Nagas and also paid tributes to the Oting victims.
Addressing the rally, Tep said for so long as AFSPA continues to exist, where the lives, land and people will always be tormented by fear and uncertainty.
He said the Government of India must admit to the utter failure of its intelligence agencies and publicly apologize to the Naga people for furthering their subjugation of the Nagas through its policy of militarization. Justice should be delivered immediately to the victims of the gruesome Oting incidents and to all the pending cases related to the excesses committed by the Indian armed forces.
He said the NSF will not rest until justice is delivered and a logical closure is brought about.
He demanded that this draconian law is repealed once and for all and that human rights are restored in the homeland of the Nagas.
Addressing the gathering of the rally, NESO Adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya said the attack on the innocent civilians was not just on the Nagas, but on all the indigenous people of the Northeast.
He assured that NSF was not alone in its fight against the draconian Act and not the Nagas as NESO and all indigenous people from all the seven States were with them.
He observed that Government of India behaved as if the country ended at Kolkata, while neglecting the North-eastern region.
He asserted that the people of the region would not accept mere statements or inquiry by the Centre in the Oting incident and AFSPA repealed from the Northeast region.
He also demanded that Union Home Minister Amit Shah must withdraw his statement given in parliament.
Speaking on behalf of Naga mothers, Prof Rosemary Dzuvichu said women in the region had borne the brunt of the inhuman acts for a long time now.
She said it was high time there was an end to all the atrocities meted out to the people in general and women in particular.
She said the people of the region could not afford to continue suffering like this and demanded withdrawal of all army camps from civilian areas so that the people could live in peace and without fear. She called for an end to all the ill treatments and to let peace prevail in the land.
Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) Secretary General Neingolo Krome said incidents similar to Oting had taken place for many generations now.
He alleged that AFSPA had come into force after Indian Prime Ministers like Jawaharlal Nehru and Morarji Desai had openly declared their intent to exterminate the Nagas. The Oting story was shared by Eastern Naga Students’ Federation leader Sepikiu J Sangtam.