Kohima: Chief minister Neiphiu Rio said justice will surely be delivered to the families of the innocent civilians who were gunned down by security forces in the Mon district.

“My fellow citizens, as we celebrate the Republic Day, we also take note of the unfortunate firing incidents that occurred in December last year in Oting-Tiru village area and Mon town, which led to the unfortunate death of 14 (fourteen) innocent civilians, and serious injuries to many others. We are taking every measure to lessen the pain of the family members, who lost their near and dear ones, as well as of all those who suffered injuries,” the CM CM said.

On December 4 and 5 last year, 14 civilians were gunned down by security forces in Oting village in the Mon district. The state government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the incident.

While the SIT has made good progress in its investigation, Rio also reminded that the Army constituted a court of inquiry, and it is reportedly being completed at a fast pace.

“We are sure that justice will be delivered for the families,” he said. Following the killing incident, he said there is a public outcry against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958, bringing to focus “its potential for misuse.”

After the Assembly adopted a resolution to repeal AFSPA from Nagaland, the CM said that the Centre had taken up the matter. He assured that the Centre is considering the matter and so the state government is “hopeful of a positive decision soon.”

Rio recounted how AFSPA was implemented in the state due to the Naga insurgency in the 50s. The ceasefire with the Naga Political groups since the last nearly two and half decades has improved the law and order situation in the state, he added.

As for the ongoing peace talks, he said that negotiations between the Naga Political Groups (NPGs) and the Centre have been going on in a cordial atmosphere to find a solution.

“There is a good understanding of each other’s position and concern, so crucial for overcoming all the differences and coming to a consensus,” he said.

The Konyak Union (KU), the apex tribal body of the Konyak Nagas, had directed the Konyak Nagas to abstain from participating in the celebration. 

The Konyak Union questioned the Centre over the celebration of Republic day.

“Isn’t Republic day celebrated to mark the historic day when India was transformed into a Democratic and Republic Nation? Why the Government of India is shying away when the Indian Army massacred its own citizen and still the culprits are scout free? Aren’t we the citizen of India too? Either prove it or better defy it! We better die in dignity than to be massacred and be left unattended. Moreover, isn’t the lives and dignity of the Indian Citizen being inked and protected through a lengthiest written Constitution of India in the world?” it questioned.

Following the directive of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and the Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF), students across the state have been directed to abstain from participating in the republic day celebrations.

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