Nagaland cabinet urges Centre to scrap AFSPA, calls off Hornbill Fest
In the aftermath of the killing of 14 villagers at Oting village in Mon district on December 4 and 5 by the security forces, the Nagaland cabinet on December 7, decided to recommend to the Government of India to repeal the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) 1958, from the state. The cabinet also called off the remaining four days of the ongoing Hornbill Festival at Kisama, which was scheduled to conclude on December 10.
Briefing media persons at the Nagaland civil secretariat in Kohima, state government spokesperson and planning minister, Neiba Kronu, said an emergency cabinet meeting was called on December 7 to discuss the firing incident at Oting village, and the subsequent incidents that followed in Mon town. He said the cabinet decided to write to the Government of India to immediately repeal the AFSPA in Nagaland.
He said the cabinet was briefed on the actions taken by the government, including setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by an IGP and consisting of four other members, to probe the incident.
The Konyak Union, in a letter to the President on December 6, had urged Kronu to constitute a SIT team under a competent investigating agency to conduct an independent inquiry into the killing of the 14 civilians, and include two members from the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation in the team.
The union also demanded identification of all army personnel involved in the incident and book them. It asked for sharing in the public domain the action taken against the erring personnel within one month.
It further demanded that the 27 Assam Rifles be immediately removed from Mon district for failing to provide security to the citizens and also immediately repeal AFSPA from the entire northeastern region.
With regard to the ongoing Hornbill Festival, Kronu said the cabinet decided to cancel the ongoing Hornbill Festival from December 7, and just hold a simple and solemn closing ceremony on the final day in view of the mourning announced for the deceased in the firing incident.
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