Kohima: On December 27, 1994, security forces suddenly appeared and started beating up people in a Nagaland village in the wee hours. This was the Christmas holiday season that year.

“We did not know why they were doing that,” recalled Nagaland BJP president Temjen Imna Along.

The legislator was speaking during the 10th session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Monday. Advocating for the repeal of AFSPA, the legislator said, “The recent Oting incident has brought back memories of the atrocities meted out to our people—to the innocent people, under this shelter of the AFSPA.” 

Many other members of Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) recollected the horror of past atrocities upon Nagas by security forces under the Act, during the special Assembly session convened to discuss the applicability of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) 1958 in Nagaland.

“The provisions of AFSPA, by its nature, scope and intent, gives undue and excessive powers to the security forces to take several coercive actions like search, seizure, arrest of suspected persons, and use of firearms, even to the extent of causing death, And furthermore, for all the actions that may be taken by the personnel of the security forces, there is a great deal of immunity provided to them,” Nagaland deputy chief minister Y Patton said. 

Patton, who initiated the discussion during the Assembly session said that AFSPA has led to many instances of gross abuse by the members of the security forces over the years. “The sentiments of our people are strongly against the continuance of AFSPA anymore in our state. We do not deserve to be designated as a Disturbed Area,” he said.

MLA Chotisuh Sazo recounted “horrid incidents” of how in the 1950’s, Naga villages were burnt down by security forces. He also made references of history where thousands were killed, women raped, and villagers put into concentration camps. 

Saying that AFSPA is a “license to kill”, he recounted how one of his uncles was shot and tortured to death by security forces. 

MLA Vikheho also narrated a story of how AFSPA is an Act that has made a “sister witness the brutal death of her brother”, an Act that deserves no place in a democracy. 

Condemning the “monstrosity” of AFSPA, he said that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will increase in Nagaland if the rule of AFSPA continues.

“The genocide committed on 4th December 2021 at Oting village under Mon District is one of the most glaring examples of the thousand genocides committed by the Indian security forces during the last 70 years, and yet Nagas continue their struggle with more determination and zeal,” senior legislator Imkong L Imchen said.

Leader of the NPF legislature party TR Zeliang said, “It has been over 68 years since the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was imposed in September, 1958, on the indigenous people of the Northeast. The Act has been in existence in the state of Nagaland since then and extra-judicial killings, rapes, atrocities and tortures committed on the Naga people has become countless.” 

During the discussion, most legislators recommended that a resolution be adopted in the state Assembly to repeal AFSPA.

No space for AFSPA in a democracy: Nagaland BJP president

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