Prosecute guilty under civil law; repeal AFSPA: Forum appeals to Centre

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Guwahati, Dec 6:  The Global Naga Forum (GNF) has appealed to the Centre to “prosecute those responsible for the Oting and Mon killings under civil law so that the families of the victims get justice.”

In a statement, the forum also called for immediate repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

A year ago – on December 4, 2021 – security forces had gunned down six coal miners near the Oting village in Nagaland after “mistaking” them for militants. Seven other civilians and a security person were killed within hours at the same place when the villagers retaliated.

Another villager was killed the next day in Mon town when Assam Rifles personnel opened fire after their camp had come under an attack from a mob.

“The personal tragedies of the families (of the victims) continue without recourse because the central government has done nothing to prosecute the guilty, despite the state government-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) naming 30 army personnel to be involved in the killings,” it alleged in the statement.

“The Global Naga Forum continues to mourn the dead along with their families, and stands for justice in solidarity with them and with the Naga people. The forum is outraged by the repeated violations by Indian armed forces of Naga people’s basic rights to life itself, and to self-determination and peace in our own homelands,” it stated.

The forum alleged, “The reason military crimes against Nagas keep happening repeatedly and predictably is AFSPA, which has been in force for 64 years, even during ceasefire periods and now, while the government of India is supposedly in the final stages of negotiations with the Nagas for a peaceful resolution of the 75-year old Naga political problem.”

The Global Naga Forum further appreciated foreign governments and international communities for raising questions about the legitimacy of AFSPA in the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHCR), during the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), held in Geneva in November this year.

“Representatives of 14 foreign governments objected to AFSPA for violating people’s rights in one way or another, with a few recommending its repeal,” it stated.

“We hope the government of India will act responsibly by repealing AFSPA, so that India can be in compliance with the obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” it added.

IANS