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Shillong: Joining other states in paying tribute to the lives lost in Nagaland’s Mon Dist, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), under the aegis of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), on Thursday evening carried out a sit-in demonstration followed by a candlelight vigil in Shillong city.

A total of 18 leaders from different organisations participated in sharing their thoughts and condemning the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and demanding that the law should be repealed.

Leaders who spoke at the protest were NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa, Mizo Students’ Union president John Chhana, Naga Students’ Union Shillong president Dekhozo Rhakho, Shillong Bar Association vice president Anshuman, Karbi Students’ Association Ningphiso Teron, KSU president Lambok S Marngar, Donbok Dkhar from HITO, Tarh Tarum – ASUS, President, Jersom Shylla – JSU president, Sadon Blah – HNYF, Naga Elders Forum, Prez, Tolu Chopi and others.

Leader of Karbi Students’ Association Ningphiso Teron termed AFSPA a flaw and not a law. Sympathising with the people of Nagaland, Teron said, “We demand the Union government to immediately repeal AFSPA. Today the victims are the Nagas, we don’t know who could be the next victims. It could be any of us.”

Questioning the Government of India what business does the Army has to do in civilian areas, Shillong Bar Association vice president Anshuman stated that AFSPA should not exist anymore. “It is time that it should be taken away from the legislation and this should be the end of it. This law can end only if you all unite,” said Anshuman.

They were all united in their thought that the army that was meant to protect the lives of the people are instead claiming the lives of civilians. Members of different organisations were seen holding banners which read- Repeal AFSPA, AFSPA “Violation of Human Rights”, We stand with the Nagas of Mon Dist, Remove all military establishments in Shillong, Naga Students’ Union, Shillong condemn Oting’s massacre, GOI if you can repeal farms law why not repeal AFSPA and CAA.

Joining the chorus, Mizo Students’ Union president John Chhana warned the government of head hunters. “Do not wake up the head hunters of these places, repeal AFSPA and let us all live in peace,” said Chhana.

“AFSPA is not helping anyone, it is only a license to kill. It is a license to force a brother to kill his own brother. It is obsolete and useless,” said Chhana.

NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa also questioned the stepmotherly attitude shown by the GOI towards the NE region. Calling the massacre at Mon Dist a reminder of past incidents, Jyrwa said, “NESO has been demanding the GOI to repeal AFSPA but the govt has paid a deaf ear.”

Following the sit-in demonstration, candles were lit to pay tributes to the lives lost in Mon district.

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