Kohima: The NSCN-IM and the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) on Monday condemned the firing at Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh which claimed the life of a local resident.
Through a press note, the NSCN-IM MIP said that despite battling against the Coronavirus or COVID-19, there is a “human rights violation in Longding district where the Indian security forces are giving a hell of a time to the innocent villagers”.
“In the stillness of the lockdown, the 19th Sikh Regiment is recklessly moving about in villages in Longding district (Wancho Region) targeting innocent villagers and torturing them for the reason never specified. In the latest incident, Pumoa village was the target,” it said.
The NSCN-IM claimed, “Nokchai Wangsu, a resident of Pumoa village was picked up by the 19th Sikh Regiment and beaten up like an animal” on May 14 and was made to sign a paper without disclosing the content of the paper and was threatened not to report the incident.”
It claimed that on May 15, another resident of Pumoa village Jempho Wangpan was picked up when he was returning from church and was “inhumanly tortured for no clear reason”.
It said that to stop abhorrent incidents, the villagers decided to settle it peacefully and invited the Indian army personnel to join a meeting on May 16.
“But, as the meeting progressed touching the core of the human right violation the army personnel blushed and hurriedly started leaving the meeting. Thereafter, a commotion broke out as villagers stood up in anger not ready to accept the indignity. Some of the infuriated youths started pelting stones at the army personnel,” it said.
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 Lamdan Lukham on the spot and injuring six others, it said.
“The PRO (Defense) in its press release dragged in the name of NSCN’s firing that led to the melee. This is nothing less than a hilarious statement to absolve itself from the criminal assault on innocent villagers,” it added.
The rebel group said that the Indian security forces are “taking shelter under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is shamelessly finding luxury to find its way to ablutions” and deplored the “act of cowardice on the part of 19th Sikh Regiment leading to the loss of innocent life”.
It saluted the residents of Pumas village for “daring to stand up for their right against the brutality of Indian security forces” and expressed condolences to the family members of Lamdan Lukham and to the village community.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to make the world hear of the human rights violation in Longding district and other places in Arunachal Pradesh. We are in solidarity with the organizations fighting for the just cause of the Pumoa people. We shall let the world know that your gesture of peace has been responded with live bullets,” it added.
It also said that the approach of mainstream media on human rights violation issue against the Naga people need to be reinvented and must start playing an impartial role to arrest the cause of alienation that may follow if mishandled by media.
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) also condemned the extra-judicial and arbitrary chain of actions by troops of 19th Sikh Regiment stationed at Pumoa village, Longding District, Arunachal Pradesh where a “youth was detained and physically assaulted for no apparent reason and thereafter indiscriminately firing upon a crowd leading to the killing of a 60-year-old civilian, Lamdaan Lukham, on the spot while also injuring several others”.
The federation is “distressed to learn that men in uniform have not been able to be an exemplary disciplined unit even during the nationwide lockdown and are mindlessly indulging in their trigger happy junket to which another innocent Naga soul had to fall victim to their bullets while also injuring many”.
An official update from the NSF media cell said that the “perturbing chain of events calls for the central government to review and revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which has been in operation in almost all parts of the North-Eastern states allowing the armed forces to operate with impunity in the region thereby claiming countless innocent lives and destroying those of thousands more”.
It has become an irony that the very mention of armed forces who are supposed to safeguard the people only invokes fear and insecurity in the minds of the people and the Naga people have been at the receiving ends of their mindless actions, shielded by the AFSPA regime, for last many decades, it said.
It also said that the Government of India “should not continue with its policy of militarizing the Naga inhabited areas while on the other hand giving lip service to solving the protracted Indo-Naga political issue” and demanded “to set-up an inquiry committee to be headed by a retd. judge of Supreme Court/High Court who will be empowered to conduct an impartial probe into the matter and bring the culprits to the book at the earliest”.
It also appealed the national/state human rights commission as well as the national/state ST commission to take Suo-moto cognizance of the incident and initiate timely proceedings against those responsible for the barbaric act.