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Kohima: At a time when the state government, through the various district task forces are advocating for COVID-19 vaccination and testing, a group of people under the banner of ‘Awaken India Movement’ gathered to protest against the government’s recent order on its employees to show a vaccination report or COVID-19 negative report to receive salaries.

As the “worldwide rally for freedom” was called without a police permit or a ‘no objection’ certificate from the concerned authorities, the protesters who were marching towards the designated point—at Old MLA junction were stopped by the police and the administration just opposite to the war cemetery.

Interacting with the media, Azahto Naga, one of the leaders said “We want to create an awareness to the public about their legal rights and that mandatory vaccination, testing is not constitutionally right. It is violating the Indian Supreme Court law”.

“The government’s order should not affect the teachers and its employees from earning a livelihood. Mandatory vaccination should not affect the daily wage earners as well,” he said. Citing High court rulings, he said that the state government should grant permission to earn livelihood and move around.

Questioning the vaccine efficacy, he said that the rally intends to “educate people” as “vaccinations are being experimented on people”. He said, “We are not guinea pigs. We are humans”.

He also said that inter-district and inter-state movements of people should not be prohibited without vaccination reports or COVID-19 test results. As part of its demands, he said that wearing masks should not be mandatory among healthy people. “Our body will become toxic if we keep wearing masks,” he commented.

Further, he questioned the government’s data presented to the public on the actual number of deaths of vaccinated people. The people held placards that read “Vaccines- the more you know, the more you No”, “experiment or vaccine?”, “Govt is not our enemy, but our enemy is the new world order”.

The gathering dispersed after a mass prayer.

The team will also be submitting a memorandum to the chief secretary on Monday in this regard.

Meanwhile, a government official informed that rally organisers submitted an intimation letter to the deputy commissioner of Kohima, requesting for the presence of the DC and SP to “encourage” more people to join the movement. However, a refusal letter from the administration was reportedly reverted.

The Kohima District Task Force (DTF) conducted sensitisation programmes on Covid-19 testing and vaccination covering the Northern, Southern, Western, Tseminyu area and Kohima Municipal areas. The advocacy, which began on July 16, culminated on Friday.

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