DIMAPUR, Dec 10: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said the December 4 Oting incident in Mon district was a misuse and abuse of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), 1958.
According to him, the Act is violative of human rights, which the Naga people have been opposing for decades.
Rio was addressing an in memoriam, a tribute programme for those who lost their lives in the Oting tragedy at the Capital Cultural Hall in Kohima on Thursday evening.
Expressing condolences to the bereaved families of the 14 victims who were killed in firing by the security forces, he urged the public to remain strong and courageous, and not to retaliate.
“It is the time to defeat violence with non-violence,” Rio stressed. He asked the people to shun violence and show the nation that the AFSPA is not needed. He added that society cannot allow any force to derail the hard-earned peace process. Rio hoped that the country and the rest of the world would not only understand the story of the Nagas but also their longing for lasting peace.
Former chief minister and Naga People’s Front Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang said the AFSPA brought only pain and suffering and called for repealing the Act.
Saying that no amount of reason can justify the killing of innocent civilians, he urged the government to leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Zeliang said when the Nagas were anticipating the final breakthrough in the Indo-Naga political issue, the Oting incident had come as a rude shock.
Shedding light on the Oting incident, the president of Konyak Union Kohima, H Angnyei Konyak, said the country does not want to see another Oting incident. Konyak expressed gratitude at the solidarity shown by various sections of the society to victims’ families.