70 km walkathon held to press for repeal of AFSPA and justice for those killed in Mon

KOHIMA, 11 Jan: Hundreds of Nagas took part in a two-day 70-km-long walkathon from the commercial hub of Dimapur to here that concluded on Tuesday, demanding repeal of the AFSPA from Nagaland and justice for the 14 civilians killed by security forces in Mon district.

They submitted a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union Home and Defence Ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh through Nagaland Governor Jagdish Mukhi, appealing for immediate repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA from the Northeast in toto.

The memorandum, which was also addressed to BJP president JP Nadda, said brutality and injustice have accompanied the enforcement of the Act in the state for the last 63 years and the killing at Mon was not an isolated incident.

The AFSPA has repeatedly deprived innocent civilians of their right to live, it said.

The participants carried placards demanding the repeal of the “draconian” AFSPA and justice for the victims. Their numbers swelled as they marched across villages and towns, and after halting for the night at Piphema village, they resumed the march on Tuesday morning before reaching here.

The walkathon was supported by various tribal bodies and civil society organizations in the state.

After reaching Kohima, the protesters along with Naga leaders went to the Raj Bhavan and submitted the memorandum to T Mhabemo Lotha, the commissioner and secretary to Nagaland governor.

The Naga civil societies congratulated them for giving a good fight on behalf of the Naga people and said this was the beginning of the protests against the AFSPA.

Demanding justice for those killed in the botched anti-militant operation by the army at Oting village on 4 December, 2021, they said that “every Naga will continue the fight till justice is delivered.”

Interacting with media persons, three women belonging to the Khiamniungan Naga tribe and in their 20s said, “We are concerned about the imposition of the draconian law and want the government of India to repeal the Act.” They also demanded justice for those killed by the security forces in Mon district.

In their memorandum, the protestors requested the prime minister to take cognizance of the serious human rights violations committed by the armed forces in the Oting massacre and initiate the process of justice for the victims, their families and the injured.

“The perpetrators should be tried by a civil court for criminal procedures and immediate and adequate compensation should be given to the families of the victims and to the injured,” the memorandum said.

The protestors also asked the prime minister to take cognizance of past atrocities and excesses committed by the army and said adequate compensation should be given to the victims of those incidents or to their nearest kin. (PTI)