Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who recently joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC), dealing a blow to the party and its functioning throughout the northeastern state, recently cited Meghalaya as a ” model ”, to successfully manage the insurgency without imposing the armed forces (Special Skills) (AFSPA).
He claimed the same, as he addressed the rally at a candlelight vigil held in Shillong in memory of innocent civilians who were killed by Indian armed forces in Mon District, Nagaland, on December 4.
According to Hindu report, Sangma deliberating on the same, asserted that “The Center should conduct a case study on how Meghalaya has handled issues such as insurgency and terrorism.”
“In this nation, every individual or citizen must have a sense of belonging and we are collectively building this nation. It is the essence of our democracy. Therefore, no citizen should feel deprived of justice, ”he said.
The law was passed by the Indian Parliament to provide special legal certainty to the armed forces for launching operations in troubled areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. However, in 1990 the law was extended to the state of Jammu and Kashmir to deal with the growing insurgency in the region.
After the heinous crime committed by the Indian armed forces by incessant shooting at innocent civilians mistaking them for insurgents of the Yung Aung faction of the banned militant group – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), voices to repeal AFSPA along the northeastern areas became noisier.
Recently, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also called for its repeal. However, on Monday, the Nagaland cabinet decided to urge the Center to repeal the relevant law.
Interestingly, in June of this year, the Center declared Nagaland a “disturbed area” and extended the application of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 for another 6 months. AFSPA has been in effect in Nagaland for several decades.
The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act 1976 states that once declared “disturbed”, the area must maintain the status quo for at least three months. Under this law, in a “disturbed” area, an officer has full power to warn or open fire and other types of forces against the person acting against the law.
Last Saturday, at least 13 civilians identified as coal miners were shot dead by security forces in the Mon district of Nagaland. Calling the killings “unfortunate,” the Indian military confirmed the incident.
“The incident and its consequences are deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of life is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken in accordance with the law, ”the Indian military said in its statement.
The unfortunate incident is essentially the aftermath of the military operation, which confused civilians with insurgents from the Yung Aung faction of the banned militant group – the Nagaland-Khaplang National Socialist Council (NSCN-K).