Kohima: After a day of shutdown protesting firing by security forces which claimed 14 lives in Mon district of Nagaland, a pall of gloom continues to shroud the border state which remains in mourning for its dead.

Various Naga bodies have called for a 5-day mourning for the dead which will end on Friday, with the Naga Students Union planning a sit-in protest before the Governor’s residence to highlight their demands for justice for the dead.

Though the situation in Nagaland and in Mon remained under control, almost all Naga tribes have now united in demanding revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), officials said.

Several powerful Naga civic society associations including the Naga Mothers’ Association and the Global Naga Forum met the Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi on Tuesday to press among other demands, that army cantonments and Assam Rifles camps be shifted out of civilian areas.

The Konyak Union too in its charter of demands has pressed for the Assam Rifles camp to be withdrawn from the district “on moral ground for failing to provide security” to people.

Demand for repeal of the act found echoes in the Parliament on Tuesday with National People’s Party (NPP) MP Agatha Sangma, a former Minister in the UPA Government, terming the act as “the elephant in the room which (needs to) be addressed” and seeking repeal of the “draconian” Act.

The AFSPA was enacted in 1958 to give armed forces far reaching powers of arrest and detention after an armed insurgency started in Nagaland. Critics have maintained that the controversial law has failed to control insurgency despite giving armed forces powers to act with impunity, sometimes leading to human rights violations.

The firing incidents took place in Oting-Tiru area on December 4 and Mon town on December 5.

The first incident in which six civilians were killed, occurred when army personnel mistook coal mine workers returning home in a pick-up van on Saturday evening, to be insurgents belonging to the Yung Aung faction of the banned outfit NSCN(K).

A report submitted Sunday by the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) T John Longkumer and Commissioner Rovilatuo Mor quoting eyewitnesses, said the Army’s special forces tried to “hide” the bodies of six people initially shot dead by wrapping and loading them on a pick-up van with the intention of taking them to their base camp.

As workers failed to reach their homes, local youth and villagers went in search of them and surrounded the army vehicles. In the ensuing melee, one soldier was killed and army vehicles burnt down. Soldiers who fired in self-defence killed another seven civilians.

Rioting spilled over into Sunday afternoon when angry mobs vandalised the offices of the Konyak Union and an Assam Rifles camp in the area, setting fire to parts of the camp, police had said.

At least one more person was killed, as security forces fired back at attackers.

Mon killings: Naga Students’ Federation to hold peaceful dharna on Dec 9


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