No solution to Naga political problem if AFSPA not repealed: NSCN (IM)

The Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (IM), has said that “Indo-Naga” political talks will be meaningless under the shadow of the Armed Forces (Powers) Act 1958. specials).

The NSCN (IM) is the key player in the peace process which has dragged on since 1997, when the extremist group declared a ceasefire. Several factions of the rival Khaplang group joined the peace process from 2001.

Referring to the December 4 killing of 14 civilians by armed forces in the village of Oting in the Mon district of Nagaland, the NSCN (IM) said it was now pushed to the point of taking a stand on AFSPA draconian.

“This notorious AFSPA has authorized Indian security forces to shoot and kill anyone on mere suspicion… The Nagas have tasted the bitter taste of this act many times and it has drawn enough blood. Blood and political talks cannot go together… No political talks will make sense in the shadow of AFSPA,” the group said.

“Let human dignity take control and be an integral part of the Naga political peace process. Unfortunately, Oting’s murder became a threat to the Nagas’ desire for a Naga political solution. He said the Center must immediately withdraw AFSPA if it wants to bring justice to the Naga people.

The NSCN(IM) said the soldiers, “emboldened by law beyond measure”, treated the Nagas as sub-human beings without fear of any judicial review.

“Therefore, this time the Naga people expect the judgment [of the special investigation team probing the December 4 incident] must be transparent and delivered quickly. This is the only way to establish absolute loyalty between the Naga people and the Indian government,” the statement said.

“Soldiers caught in the act”

The NSCN(IM) also strongly refuted the statement Home Secretary Amit Shah made in Parliament on the December 4 incident.

In a situation like this, Mr. Shah was expected to show political maturity and political acumen to quell the socio-political upheaval. But he poured oil on the burning issue by standing behind the heinous act of killings by the para commandos, which was like stirring salt in the wounds of the Nagas, he said.

The NSCN (IM) called the December 4 operation a “deliberate mission to kill and had nothing to do with ‘credible’ intelligence from the NSCN movement in the area”.

The outfit accused the armed forces of stripping the bodies and trying to wrap them in military attire to look like they had shot dead militants. “They were caught in the act by the villagers before they could pull off their plan,” he said.

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