Amid outrage over the killings of 14 civilians in a botched up army operation against insurgents, Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio said that the state government has decided to write to the Centre appealing for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that gives sweeping powers to the army in troubled regions.
Nagaland will also call off the Hornbill Festival, an annual event that draws thousands of domestic and foreign tourists. Today was the sixth day of the signature 10-day event. “We took a decision in the cabinet this morning asking the Government of India to repeal AFSPA, not only just from the state of Nagaland but from the whole northeast. We feel that it will be better if the government of India removes this act from the entire country because India is the biggest democratic country in the world and excessive powers to armed forces does not go well with the people and the country like India,” said Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio. “As you know it was a very unfortunate incident. I attended the funeral, I have seen the atmosphere and their demands. Every person who has spoken to me have spoken on this issue very strongly,” he said.
“It’s up to the Government of India to repeal the act because the law permits them to take such decision in the highest level, but it is the wishes of the people so we have to communicate it to the government of India,” he added.
While reacting to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement he said, “I think home minister must be telling whatever reports he gets from army, but one thing is good that they have accepted the fact that army made a wrong judgment. I just come back from Delhi after discussing the matter, I am in touch with everyone over the phone, discussing all the matters.”
Further talking about the Law and Order situation in the state, Neiphiu Rio said, “I am happy that law and order have been restored, I am making an appeal to the public that we should restrain and control our anger and emotion and I request the people to stay calm and maintain the peace in the state.”
Earlier on Monday, Home Minister Amit Shah had termed the killing of civilians by security forces in Nagaland a “case of mistaken identity” and informed that a special investigation team (SIT) has been formed with direction to submit its report on the unfortunate incident within one month.