A candle light vigil in Kohima to mourn the death of 13 civilians

Itanagar: The North East Students’ Organization (NESO) has called upon the Central government to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the northeast.

The government should remove and repeal AFSPA from the northeast if it is concerned about the welfare and well-being of the people, otherwise, it will only further alienate the citizens of the region, the student body said in a statement on Sunday.

AFSPA is an act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. Expressing shock and anguish over the killing of 13 civilians by security forces at Oting village in Nagaland’s Mon district on Saturday, the organisation said that the heinous act deserves the highest condemnation.

This incident brings back horrific memories of the past where the security forces have on numerous occasions massacred and tortured the innocent villagers and even raped the women folk for days in the name of fighting insurgency, the organisation said.

NESO feels that the Government of India does not want peace to prevail in the northeast so that it can continue with its plan to militarise the region and suppress the voice of the indigenous people through military power, it added.

The NESO further said that the armed forces have been operating in the northeast with impunity, and they are further emboldened with the imposition of the draconian law known as the AFSPA.

The Government of India has not only refused to repeal AFSPA but decided to continue its imposition even though there have been massive people’s movements for the Act to be revoked, the organisation said.

NESO is a conglomeration of several student organisations of the northeast region, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).

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