One week ultimatum to govt for action
LONGDING, May 18: A peaceful rally was organized by various community-based organizations (CBOs) of Longding district, headed by the Wancho Council here on Monday, to protest against the killing of a civilian Lamdam Lukham and injury to six other civilians in Pumao village here by the 19th Sikh Regiment on 16 May last.
People holding placards, shouted slogans demanding justice for the deceased and those injured in the firing by the Army.
The Longding district administration had earlier on Sunday, made an exception and granted permission to the CBOs to hold the rally despite the existing lockdown restrictions imposed since March end in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rally was held following all the SOPs on Covid 19 issued by the government. Participants were made to wear masks compulsorily, to maintain social distancing.
The peaceful protesters later reached the Longding deputy commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum to DC Chesta Yadav and SP BR Reddy demanding justice for the deceased and compensation to his next of kin.
They further served a week-long ultimatum to the state government demanding early action against the Army personnel involved in the 16 May incident and threatened to resort to democratic action in case its demands are not met within stipulated time.
The DC assured that she would do everything in her capacity to see that justice is done, but also informed that there is no provision in law which approves of the inclusion of members from CBOs in judicial enquiry team.
“But I assure you all that the enquiry will be unbiased,” she said.
“We should remember that we are not against the Indian Army or against the Wanchos, but we are against the incident, and the perpetrators of the firing incident. We should not do anything which may further aggravate the situation and create law and order problem,” she said and urged the leaders to cooperate with the DA in maintaining law and order in the district.
Earlier, on Sunday, various CBOs including the Wancho Students’ Union, All Wancho Women Welfare Society, Wancho Council, Wancho Cultural Society and Longding District Students’ Union had also submitted a memorandum to the governor of Arunachal Pradesh, demanding immediate arrest of the Army jawans involved in the brutal killing of Lamdam Lukham and injury of six other civilians.
In the memorandum, the CBOs also demanded that the 19th Sikh Regiment, Longding battalion provide compensation amounts of Rs 50 lakh to the family of the deceased and Rs 10 lakh to the severely injured, Naiwang Wangsu. They also sought from the army regiment a compensation of Rs 5 lakh against each victim of Army atrocities, namely Nokchai Wangsu, Jimpho Wangpan, Amok Wangsu, Panphua Wangpan and Champoh Wangpan.
While urging the state government to provide government jobs to the deceased Lamdan Lukham’s next of kin on compassionate ground, the CBOs also demanded inclusion of members from CBOs of the Wancho community in the judicial investigation and enquiry committee to ensure free and fair investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, the All Ollo Students’ Union (AOSU) has in a release on Monday, vehemently condemned the brutal killing of Lamdam Lukham and injury of six other civilians of Pumao village by the 19th Sikh Regiment.
Terming the incident as “an irresponsible act by the Indian Army,” the AOSU said, “We considered the Indian Army as the most disciplined force in the country. However, the bigoted and destructive mindset of the Indian Army in the region is destroying the very fabric that weaves peaceful co-existence for many a times, our innocent civilians have been made scapegoat under the pretext of the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act).”
While urging the state government to provide ex-gratia to the deceased’s family and those injured, the AOSU further sought immediate conduct of judicial inquiry into the whole incident.
The Tirap Changlang and Longding People’s Forum has also condemned the incident.
Stating that the army has committed numerous atrocities in the TCL districts under the cover of the AFSPA, the forum said such atrocity upon unarmed civilians is a total violation of human rights.
The forum demanded a judicial probe into the incident and exemplary punishment for the culprits involved in the incident. It also demanded adequate compensation to the family members of the deceased and all other injured.
NSCN IM rejects army claims
The NSCN (IM) has rejected the Indian Army’s claim that the organization was using the villagers as human shield.
It said that the commotion started when the Army was leaving the meeting halfway without addressing human right violations.
“The army under the command of Col DK Tiwari of 19 Sikh Regiment wasted no time to retaliate with live bullets, leading to the killing of one Lamdan Lukham on the spot and injuring six others”, it said .
It further said that by dragging in the NSCN (IM), the Army was trying to absolve itself from the criminal assault on innocent villagers.
Deploring the killing by the army it’s termed it “an act of cowardice on the part of 19th Sikh Regiment,” leading to the loss of innocent life.
It further said that the mainstream media sidelines the human right issue to be in tune with the Indian military propaganda.
“The approach of mainstream media on human rights violation issue against the Naga people need to be reinvented and henceforth must start playing impartial role,” it added. (With DIPRO inputs)