Nagaland govt firm on repeal of AFSPA: Rio

Indian Army - AFSPA
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KOHIMA — Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday reiterated that the Nagaland government is firm on the unanimous resolution adopted in the state Assembly on December 20, 2021, demanding the repeal of AFSPA from the state.

Interacting with journalists on the sidelines of a programme at Kiruphema near here, Rio said despite the Union Home Ministry’s decision on December 30 last year to extend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958, for another six months in Nagaland, the state government is firm on the resolution adopted in the House.

The AFSPA gives Army personnel sweeping powers to search, arrest, and open fire if they deem it necessary for the maintenance of public order in disturbed areas.

The demand of the Naga public and also the state Cabinet is very clear for repeal of AFSPA while the state Assembly had also passed a resolution on December 20, 2021, and we stand firm with the resolution, the chief minister said.

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The clamour for withdrawal of the controversial Act from the state has come to the fore after 14 civilians were killed and several injured in three separate incidents of firing by security forces spread over two days last month, the first of which was possibly a case of mistaken identity.

On his December 23 meeting with Union Home Minister in Delhi along with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma, Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, and Naga Peoples’ Front Legislature Party leader T R Zeliang, Rio said discussions were held with Amit Shah that as AFSPA is an Act of Parliament, there is a need for setting up a committee for reviewing it.

We decided that though the system will be in place till the committee submits its recommendations, there will be no armed forces operations during the period, Rio said.

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The process of repealing the AFSPA, if recommended by the committee, will start following the submission of the panel’s report, he said.

Asked if the government will make public the report of the SIT, entrusted with the investigation of the killing of 14 civilians in Mon district on December 4 and 5, Rio said the probe team has completed its investigation and is awaiting the final forensic report.

On the demand for providing compensation of Rs 1 crore to the next of kin of the people who lost their lives and Rs 50 lakh each to the injured in the incidents of December 4 and 5, Rio said it has been communicated to the Union Home Ministry and the response is awaited.

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