Black flags were hoisted in memory of the 14 lives lost following the botched operation by the Indian Army’s Special Operations Teams (SOTs) of the 21 Paras on December 4 at Oting and subsequent firing by Assam Rifles the next day (December 5) in 2021 in the busy Mon town of Eastern Nagaland.
Reports from TFM Nagaland and Ukhrul Correspondents
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) along with representatives from All Nagaland College Student’s Union (ANCSU), All Sumi Student’s Union (SKK), and Ao Student’s Conference (AKM) on Sunday had a “solemn ceremony” at its office, Naga Club Building, Kohima, to pay homage to those who were brutally massacred by the Indian armed forces at Oting, Mon, Nagaland, on December 4 last year.
The flag of the NSF was flown at half-mast on Sunday and the same observance will continue till December 5 in memory of the innocent lives cruelly taken away by the forces. NSF president Kegwayhun Tep, in his speech, reaffirmed the “non-cooperation” extended by the federation towards the Indian armed forces/para-military forces across Nagaland and also extended his solidarity to the family members of the victims.
He also lamented that justice was yet to be delivered to family members of the victims.
NSF general secretary Silipuni Ng Philo, has also asserted that the NSF along with its federating units and subordinate bodies will continue to work towards ensuring that the “draconian AFSPA” is repealed from the entire Naga homeland.
He later added that Naga people will overcome all hardships despite the “vicious policies of the adversaries”.
Earlier, the programme chaired by NSF secretary, social and culture, Benjong Longchar, started with an innovation by general secretary, AKM, Nekmi Longkumer, while the vote of thanks was proposed by NSF vice-president, Atokiho Sumi.
ANSAM recalls infamous Oting Massacre
All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) along with apex Naga CSOs in the state observed 4th December 2022 “with deep anguish remembering the infamous Oting Massacre; killing 14 innocent Naga civilians by the Indian Special Forces, the 21 Para commandos at Tiru-oting road, Mon District, Nagaland on 4th & 5th December 2021.
“We offer our highest honour and pay homage to all the departed soul. Our heart also goes out to all the youth of Konyak Naga who had suffered maimed and mangled during the dreadful terror tragedy unleash by Indian state forces. We are aghast by the willful delaying of justice to the victims of the most condemned terror act by the government of India. We also express our resentment towards the indifference attitude of the government of India to the voices of the Naga people from across the Naga areas demanding the repeal of AFSPA, 1958 from Naga homeland”, said ANSAM in a press release.
ANSAM also said that the promulgation of AFSPA, 1958 in the Northeast has resulted in army atrocities against the innocent public in the region. “This belligerent and atrocious conduct of the State agencies itself is contrary to the spirit of the ongoing Indo-Naga ceasefire and the ongoing peace talks. ANSAM would like to remind the GOI that it was the realization on the part of India that the Naga issue is political in nature that paved the way to negotiation and more than two decades of political talk. We pray that the undeclared war on Naga civilians by the Indian forces should cease forthwith and repeal the AFSPA, 1958 and pay way for inclusive, honourable and acceptable Indo-Naga settlement”, said ANSAM.
“It is only through the settlement of the Indo-Naga political issue, wherefrom real and permanent peace, development and prosperity will be ushered in. Anticipating the sincerity and political commitment of GOI in resolving the Indo-Naga political issue ANSAM also strongly reaffirm our support to the resolution of the Naga Students’ Federation to extend Non-Cooperation towards the Indian Armed Forces until AFSPA, 1958 is repealed”, added ANSAM.
ENPO observes Black Days
The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) had recently asked every house in the Eastern Nagaland to hoist black flags as observance of the “Black Day” in memory of the 14 lives lost as a consequence of the botched operation by the Indian Army’s Special Operations Teams (SOTs) of the 21 Paras on December 4 at Oting and subsequent firing by Assam Rifles the next day (December 5) in 2021 in the busy Mon town. The ENPO is observing December 4 and 5 as “Black Days” in the entire Eastern Nagaland.
Even after protests and bandhs were organized in the aftermath of the massacre, the family members of the victims are still yet to get justice.
A Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Nagaland police was also constituted to probe the Oting massacre resulting in the loss of lives of the innocent civilians and having completed its investigation, charge-sheeted 30 personnel including a “Major”, commanding the 21 Para (Special Forces) unit of the Indian army.
The SIT in its detailed charge sheets running into over 300 pages has given full account of the two firing incidents in Tiru-Oting under Mon district. In its report, SIT also mentioned that the operation team consisted of 30 personnel led by a major rank officer, two subedars, eight havildars/THM, four Naik, six Lance Naik, and nine paratroopers.
However, the prosecution sanction against the 30 army personnel (accused) was grounded when the Supreme Court in July this year had stayed the proceedings against them on the petition filed in the apex Court by Anjali Gupta, wife of Major Ankush Gupta, who was one of the army officers booked by the Nagaland state police.