Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Our north-eastern states are the 'Seven Sisters'. But, Yeh Jo India Hai Na… it treats them like 'Seven Step Sisters'!
At least 14 people were ambushed and killed in Nagaland’s Mon district on 4th and 5th December. Home Minister Amit Shah apologised in Parliament, calling it a case of mistaken identity. "Government of India regrets this incident in Nagaland and expresses solidarity with the families of the deceased," he said in Lok Sabha.
But outraged citizens say, 'Repeal the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act, or AFSPA, which allows the army to shoot first, and ask questions later.'
'Repeal AFSPA' Calls Grow Louder
In November 2000, 10 civilians were similarly killed at a bus stand in Malom in Manipur. These killings lead to Irom Sharmila’s 16-year fast against AFSPA. In an interview with The Quint in February 2017, before contesting elections in the state, Irom had said, "Repealing of AFSPA is a political issue that needs a political fight."
Several other human rights activists have written and protested about it, but to no avail.
Over the years, across the North East, many have died. Insurgent groups too, have killed soldiers and civilians. Some militant outfits are known to be running extortion rackets at gunpoint. But, why have all the ceasefires, peace-talks, and accords led to nothing? What is at the root of the problem?
Our Netas lack Political Will
Simply put—it’s the lack of political will. Across the decades, politicians in Delhi, local politicians and militant groups in Nagaland, Manipur, and Assam have not shown the political will to resolve these political conflicts. Just the old ostrich approach—ignore the problems and hope they go away. Meanwhile, the blood-letting between the security forces and the militant groups simply continues.
And the death of innocents and scenes of grieving families of Oting village in Nagaland are the tragic result of this pointless cycle of violence.
But Yeh Jo India Hai Na… we want our netas, our politicians, to do their job, get to the negotiation table with some resolve, end the bloodshed, and give our Seven Sisters a chance to live in peace.