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Oting Massacre: Condemnations pour in; call for AFSPA repeal becomes strident


United Committee Manipur (UCM), North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP), Manipur State Secretariat of the CPI (M), Kangleipak Kanba Lup, All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM), Naga Hoho, and Axom Nagarik Samaj, Assam, condemned the massacre. 

TFM Desk

Condemnation over the Oting massacre, in which at least 14 unarmed civilians were killed by Indian security forces in Nagaland in an alleged “counter-insurgency operation” which the Government of India has said was a case of “mistaken identity”, continue to pour in from different sections of the society. 

United Committee Manipur (UCM), in a release, maintained that it is high time the peoples of the Northeast region unitedly stood up and strive to repeal the “outdated” AFSPA from the region. The committee will extend its full support in any movement towards its end, the release added. 

Stating that the Oting massacre was not a first of its kind in the region, UCM asserted that after the region became a part of India, the peoples of the region have been facing atrocities after the imposition of the “inhumane” Act. 

UCM also shared the grief of the bereaved families of the departed. 

NEFIP: Attempt to annihilate the indigenous people from its soil

North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) said that the Indian Army ambush on the innocent civilians who were returning from their working fields at Oting, Tiru area of Mon District, Nagaland was “shocking”. 

Stating that the “genocide” against labours without any rhyme or reason on the pretex of mistaken identity is heinous crime against humanity and an attempt to “annihilate” the indigenous people from its soil and suppression of their right to life in dignity, NEFIP asserted that the time has come for the indigenous people to rise to the occasion and fight for our rights to existence.

“We condemn the barbarous attack and killing of indigenous people by the Indian Military under the garb of a controversial and inhumane colonial Draconian Law called AFSPA and they cannot justify their act in any ways as it is very much an act of state terrorism to the people of the entire region. We demand the Union Govt. to immediately withdraw the inhumane Act from the soil of NE Region and remove all their Army Cantonments from civilian areas.”

The NEFIP, representing the civil society organizations of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, expressed its condolences and solidarity towards the brethren of Nagaland particularly the Eastern Naga People and the family members of the deceased.

NEFIP also appealed to all federating state members and the indigenous people of NE to stand together and extend our solidarity to the people of Nagaland.

CPI (M), Manipur State Committee: Conduct thorough investigation

The Manipur State Secretariat of the CPI(M) also strongly condemned the “botched operation” by the Army in Mon district of Nagaland that led to the killing of, at least, 17 civilians and one soldier.

In a release, the Manipur State Secretariat of CPI (M) conveyed its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and demanded that adequate compensation be immediately announced by the Central government.

Stating that the explanation given by Home Minister Amit Shah in the Parliament and the Army that these ghastly killings happened due to an “intelligence failure” does not explain how such an ambush blunder occurred, the left party demanded that a thorough investigation must be speedily conducted and the guilty punished. And also 25 lakh compensation and suitable jobs should be given to the deceased family members, it added. 

This incident, once again, underlines the need to remove the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the Statute Book of the country to save the nation, it added. 

KKL: Culprits should be tried as “war criminals”

Terming theincident as a “dastardly genocidal killings” of the innocent Naga brethren of the Mon district of Nagaland by the personnel of the Indian Army, the Kangleipak Kanba Lup demanded the immediate trial of the culprits as “war criminals”. 

“Nagaland state is said to be under a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India. However the AFSPA is still enforced there to justify such genocidal killings and hence we demand that Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, should immediately move the Indian Parliament to repeal the AFSPA immediately.” 

We wonder why the mainstream Indian media is keeping a stoic silence over such a heinous crime against humanity, the KKL said. 

Stating that Manipuris have been appealing to the Government of India to repeal AFSPA, the KKL maintained that it was high time for the “brethren of the entire North East of India” to awaken and revoke and uproot the AFSPA from our soil. 

ANSAM: A case of state sponsored terrorism

Condemning the Oting massacre, the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur said that such an “ugly and cruel war” unleashing upon the unarmed civilians is nothing but a “state sponsored terrorism”, which the student body said was absolutely a gross violation of human rights and unjustifiable. Killing innocent civilians in the pretext of “Mistaken Identity” is an unpardonable act of dehumanization, it asserted. 

“We are aghast to observe the continued creation of such extreme climate of fear and terror among the local civilian populace by the state agencies like Assam Rifles, Para Commandos, whereby the bloodshed and tears never cease in Naga areas under the patronage of Government of India,” ANSAM said in a release. 

Whilst, the whole Nagas were waiting for the peaceful and logical solution of Indo-Naga political issues, it is very unfortunate that the dead toll of Naga civilians and national workers have been increasing in the cruel hands of Indian security forces, it lamented. 

“That, 4th December 2021 terror incident is not unprecedented as the Government of India ever attempted to suppress and oppress the Naga people’s movement for self-determination through militarization and further trying to criminalize our political issue is highly unacceptable under any circumstances.”

ANSAM also urged all the concerned individuals and organizations all over the world to voice against this “heinous war crime” in order to end the ongoing “undeclared war” waged by India against the Nagas in spite of the ongoing Indo-Naga political dialogue. This belligerent and atrocious conduct of the State agencies are contrary to the spirit of the ongoing Indo-Naga ceasefire and peace talks, it added. 

Questioning the sincerity and political commitment of the Government of India in resolving the Indo-Naga political issue, ANSAM said that if the GoI is committed to a peaceful settlement, all such “cowardly acts” of her security forces must be put to stop with immediate effect. 

ANSAM also reminded 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.

Stating that relatively Nagas have been enjoying peace all over, ANSAM maintained that the imposition of a Draconian law (AFSPA) in Naga areas and tagged under “disturbed areas” remains ever a tragedy for civilians and thereby breaches the peaceful atmosphere in the villages. 

“Promulgation of AFSPA, 1958 in the Northeastern state is the mother of all adversity resulting with Army atrocities against the innocent public in the region repeatedly. Thus, we demand immediate revocation of the Armed Forces Special Power Act from the Northeast to usher peace in the region.” 

ANSAM also demanded that appropriate steps should be initiated for impartial investigation by the competent agency and matters must be brought into the limelight of justice. Booked all the culprits, officers and army personnel who are involved in the massacred and exemplary punishment should be given to the perpetrators. 

ANSAM also reminded to all the Naga people to stand united rising upon all the differences at this crucial juncture and walk the most solidarity road to secured justice for all the victims and to achieve “our greater goal”. 

Naga Hoho: No space for AFSPA in civilized society

Expressing sadness and anguish over the massacre, the Naga Hoho urged the Government of India to make its position clear on Indo-Naga political issues instead of “orchestrating its devilish policies” against the Naga people.

“The so-called “Friends of the Hill People” Assam Rifles have once again terrorized the public beyond imagination. This is not an isolated incident and Naga people have been repeatedly humiliated and insulted without recognizing our rights to life,” the Naga Hoho said in a release. 

The Naga Hoho also expressed its anguish over the “callous attitude” of the Government of India towards the repeal of the infamous Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) in Naga areas despite repeated appeals by Naga civil societies and human rights activists. 

“There is no space for such draconian laws in any civilized society and do not expect it from the largest democratic country under your watch. The Nagas struggle for self determination cannot be equated with “Terrorism” or “secessionism” as the GoI has recognized the uniqueness of Naga political history and further recognized the universal principle that in a democracy, sovereignty lies with the people.”

The Naga Hoho asserted that leaders from mainland India must know that, the Indian Armies have been “terrorizing” the Naga people for more than six decades. Children and students are no exception in the eyes of the Indian armies. In the past incidences, school going students were mercilessly shot dead and innocent students and public were tortured by the Assam Rifles, it added.

Naga Hoho said that it strongly feels that there is a peaceful atmosphere in Naga areas as of now and therefore any policy that harms the atmosphere of “trust and confidence” would be so dear to all stakeholders and therefore, the AFSPA must be summarily repealed from our land.

The Hoho also demanded immediate judicial investigation into the incident and culprits be booked to justice.

Axom Nagarik Samaj: Center interested only in insidious politics

Condemning the massacre, the Axom Nagarik Samaj, Assam, asserted that saying that it was a case of mistaken identity doesn’t hold water. There is no argument. It has absolutely no meaning for the deceased and their families. This wanton killing of ordinary people by the security forces must stop for once and all, it added. 

“We demand that all the perpetrators of the crime must be punished. This is also the time and occasion to repeal the draconian AFSPA by the Center,” the Axom Nagarik Samaj said in a release.

Welcoming the public denouncement of AFSPA by the incumbent chief minister of Nagaland, it added that there must be some concrete steps on the part of the Nagaland government so that we can believe that the chief minister means what he says. 

“The situation in Nagaland is tense. But the ordinary people there  want to lead a normal and peaceful life. It is the responsibility of the Central Government to create a conducive atmosphere for this. But the Centre seems to be interested only in insidious politics which has plunged the state to permanent state of anarchy and uncertainty. This must stop. Otherwise peace and normalcy will never return to Nagaland.”

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