Nagaland Civilian Killings Neiphiu Rio Demand Repeal Of AFSPA Calls Off Hornbill Festival

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New Delhi: Amid outrage following the firing incident in Mon district, the Nagaland Cabinet on Tuesday decided to write to the Center demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. AFSPA gives special powers to security forces in “disturbed areas”.

“In the state cabinet meeting over firing incident in Mon, Nagaland, it’s been decided to write to GoI to immediately repeal AFSPA, 1958 from the State, and that Special Investigation Team formed by Center should complete its investigation and submit its report by one month time,” a statement said.

The Cabinet also decided to call off the Hornbill Festival, the state’s largest event that draws thousands of domestic and foreign tourists, in protest against the killing of 14 civilians by security forces in separate incidents.

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Several tribes from eastern Nagaland and other parts of the state had suspended all activities over the incident.

On Monday, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said AFSPA gave powers to the Army to arrest civilians without any warrant, raid houses and also kill people but there was no action against the security forces.

Demand for revocation of the AFSPA was also made by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. Calling it a “draconian” Act, Sangma, whose NPP is an ally of the BJP, said, “The AFSPA has always been counterproductive and there have been more unrest and people have to go through a lot of pain.”

Six civilians were killed during an operation in Tiru area of ​​Mon district on Saturday evening when security forces allegedly mistook them for militants and fired on them. This led to clashes later, in which seven civilians and one security personnel were killed.

On Sunday afternoon, angry mobs vandalised and set on fire parts of an Assam Rifles camp in the area, police had said. Another person was killed in the incident as security forces fired back at the attackers.

The Nagaland Police filed a suo moto FIR against the 21st Para Special Force of the Army.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in a statement in Parliament on Monday, expressed regret over the incident and said it was a case of mistaken identity. He said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been ordered to submit its probe report on the Nagaland firing case within a month.

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