Kohima: Nagaland residents once again demanded the repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) following the shocking killing of 13 civilians in Mon district on Saturday. 

The news of the death has essentially put an end to the festive mood of the Hornbill Festival. On Sunday, Kisama heritage village, which would have otherwise been brimming with joyous hosts and tourists, looked anything but festive. The venue was full of posters that read “Remove bloodthirsty Indian Armed Forces from Nagaland”, “We condemn the killing of innocent civilians by security forces” and ” we demand justice” in response to the gruesome murder. 

Speaking with EastMojo, Yaam Wangsha from the Konyak Naga tribe called the killings an absolute disgrace “by the Indian Army against civilians who were just daily breadwinners.” 

“How can such a big military organisation fail to differentiate between militants and innocent men? Why are we allowing the foreigners to encroach our land and kill our people for their amusement and blame the failed system which never existed?” asked Wangsha.

Sarah Konyak, a journalist, shared, “The incident is highly condemnable, unfortunate and uncalled. It is a violation of Human rights. Thirteen innocent civilians were massacred in broad daylight. I am surprised that such well-trained army personnel have failed to differentiate between militants and civilians.”

The Government of India must revoke the draconian AFSPA Act immediately, she added. “The killing of 13 innocent lives is not a joke, and 2 bodies are missing. The Konyaks will never forgive and forget this inhuman act by the Indian army. While we are at the threshold of finding lasting permanent peace in the state and the region, such incidents will only jeopardise the process,” Konyak told EastMojo.

Benjong Longachar from the Ao Naga tribe shared, “Killing innocent civilians by armed forces is an act of cowardice. The unprofessional attempt to threaten the Naga people by committing such a crime is highly questionable and heinous. The credibility of armed forces is compromised by such inhumane acts. Naga people should once again come together to fight against the infamous AFSPA.”

Lironthung Lotha, a footballer, also extended solidarity, saying, “I am outraged. When everyone, including national workers, is striving for peace, if they (security forces) treat our people like this during peaceful times, I can only imagine what our forefathers went through. And this angers me.”

In a horrific incident, several villagers were killed in a firing by security forces after being mistaken for insurgents on the Tiru-Oting road near Oting village in Mon district of Nagaland. A security force jawan also died in the incident.

Sources told EastMojo that 13 bodies were recovered till the filing of this report, and a search operation is still on. About 7-8 injured persons have been admitted for medical care. More details are awaited.

Also read | Nagaland civilian killings: Sumi Hoho asks fellow groups to skip Hornbill

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