Amid rising furore over the deaths of 14 civilians in a botched ambush by the army in Nagaland, the state Cabinet will ask the Union government to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA, 1958) in the Northeastern states, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Tuesday, 7 December.
"People have spoken very strongly about the unfortunate incident. At today's state cabinet meeting, we decided to ask GoI to repeal AFSPA not only in Nagaland but Northeast (altogether)," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"Through AFSPA, the excessive made by Armed Forces doesn't go well with the people in a democratic country like India... It's a good thing that they (Centre) admitted to having made the wrong judgement through the tip... Hoping that justice is done."Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, as quoted by ANI
The decision was reportedly taken at an urgent meeting of the Nagaland Cabinet, and comes after 14 civilians were killed by the security forces in Nagaland, in a series of incidents over 4 and 5 December.
Under the AFSPA, the military is empowered to search, arrest, and fire if deemed necessary for maintaining public order in "disturbed areas" across the country, and to carry out these excesses with a degree of immunity from prosecution. The state of Nagaland has been under the AFSPA for almost six decades.
Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio had iterated the demand for revocation of AFSPA on Monday, in a tweet: "Nagaland and the Naga people have always opposed #AFSPA. It should be repealed."
Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad K Sangma had also called for the repealing of the law.
NHRC Issues Notice Over Deaths of Civilians
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the Defence Secretary, the Union Home Secretary, and the Chief Secretary, and Director General of Police of Nagaland, seeking a detailed report in the killings of civilians in the botched army operation, within six weeks.
The commission has taken suo motu cognisance on the killing of civilians during the security operation in Nagaland's Mon district late on 4 December.
Issuing the notice, the NHRC has also observed that it is incumbent upon the security forces ensuring proper precaution with a humane approach even if it involved militants.
Meanwhile, Konyak Union (KU), the apex tribal body in Mon, has imposed a day-long bandh in the district on Tuesday to protest the killing of 14 civilians, as well as seven-day mourning from Wednesday, reported EastMojo.
(With inputs from ANI, EastMojo, and India Today.)