Naga rakhi women

Kohima: The Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) and the Global Naga Forum (GNF) have strongly objected to images of some Naga woman tying rakhis to armed forces personnel in Dimapur, Nagaland and Tamenglong, Manipur.

Strongly condemning the “questionable act of few Naga women”, NMA President Abei-ü Meru and Joint Secretary Malsawmthangi Leyri said, “For us, Naga women, traumatised by a genocidal history of rapes, molestation, killings, village groupings, inhumane army atrocities at the hands of Indian armed forces under the impunity of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), it is a shame and a black day to witness our women, tying rakhis and felicitating these very armed forces, when we are yet to see justice for war crimes and human rights violations committed against our own women, children and men”.

The NMA leaders said that whether it is the BJP political party initiative in Dimapur or the Students Union obligation in Tamenglong, it is “unacceptable and questionable, in the continuing violations of human rights, as long as Nagas are forced to live under AFSPA in these Naga areas and without justice for the past history of human rights violations”.

Saying that the haunting cry of families of victims over the decades is yet to be heard, NMA recalled the “horrifying massacre” of the Nagas at Matikhrü in 1960 by the 16th Punjab Regiment which is observed as a Black Day on September 6 till date. The mothers said that the incident is a record of extreme violation of human rights as the army committed the “barbaric beheading” of the innocent villagers.

“The killings, tortures and rapes at Oinam and surrounding villages under Operation Bluebird, Mokokchung arson, rapes and killings, Pangsha fake encounter and killing of an innocent wife and mother, villagers and unarmed cadres and maiming for life two surviving women victims, reckless shooting and killing of two children at Wuzu Firing are all still fresh in our recent memory, as we continue to grieve and suffer with families affected,” the NMA said.

The Naga mothers clarified that the objection is unacceptable as Naga women are not in a position to sermonise in the face of such atrocities. It is also not about cultural practices or religious differences. “It is about the denial of justice on war crimes against Nagas, including its women and children, under the imposition of AFSPA,” the mothers said.

Regarding the incidents, the NMA urged the National Secretary of BJP Mahila Morcha Aienla Jamir and Avi Aomi, President of the Dimapur District Mahila Morcha and their team, and the students’ union and women in Tamenglong, to join Naga women and raise their voices to the Government of India and the Central BJP leaders to repeal of the AFSPA and justice for crimes committed by the Indian armed forces including the Assam Rifles, instead of carrying out such “objectionable programs”.

When EastMojo contacted Aienla Jamir to understand her side of the story, the BJP leader said that she has “no comment” to make, and urged the Correspondent to speak to the party spokespersons who “will give all details.”

So, EastMojo reached out to BJP Nagaland chief spokesperson Kuputo Shohe, who informed that the incident has “nothing to do with the party”. He said that it was a “personal” matter and the initiative was not through the party. Shohe said that as the State BJP president is also currently in Delhi, the party has not made any discussion on the issue till the filing of this report.

A source from the security forces told EastMojo that the particular ceremony or tying of rakhi is “pious” and those practising it have a feeling of being brothers and sisters. The source said, “Whatever wrong has happened in the past cannot be done away. But we should consider ways on how do we move ahead and mend ways.”

Meanwhile, the GNF also slammed the recent incidents, saying that AFSPA and Raksha Bandhan are “incompatible”. The “blood and tears perpetrated in the Naga homeland by AFSPA since 1958 cannot be washed away by the Indian army and a few Nagas celebrating Rakhsha Bandhan,” GNF said.

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