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After Naga agreement, fresh call for repeal of AFSPA

Ratnadip Choudhury, Dimapur, Aug 07, 2015, DHNS: 1:17 IST
Security personnel keep a vigil on the streets of Dimapur,  after the signing of the NSCN (IM) peace deal. CAISII MAO
The signing of the Naga accord between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) has once again given rise to the demand for repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the North-East.

The Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC), a national conglomerate of human rights groups, rallying around Irom Sharmial Chanu, has urged New Delhi to back up the historic agreement with a decision of repealing of the AFSPA. The group feels this way the Narendra Modi government would be able to convince the people of the North-East that it was committed to long lasting peace in the region.

SSSC convener Ravi Nitesh said “though the move is a welcome step but without repealing the AFSPA, it does not seem that the government is indicating or seriously thinking towards permanent peace. In fact, no restrictions or cut in unconstitutional powers of military is actually a threat, not less than the threat of insurgents in north east states.”

The renewed demand for repeal of the AFSPA assumes significance because for last 15 years, Irom Sharmila has not been able to get attention from the government. Even despite her repeated requests and desire to meet Modi, she did not get any chance to meet him. The SSSC feels in doing so the Modi regime is leaving fault lines open.

Meanwhile in Nagaland, various human rights groups want the agreement to come with a promise of reduction in militancy activities. “The details of the agreement are not out yet. But all human rights groups in the state would voice against it if it does not have any word on reduction of the Army presence” said a noted Dimapur based human rights activist on condition of anonymity. Human rights groups have already started close door meetings to shape up their strategy.

However, Nagaland has been put on highest alert following the singing of the pact. “One of the intelligence agencies has received disturbing interpects which indicates that after the agreement was signed in Delhi, NSCN (K) is planning to strike with vengeance. Their target will be security forces in Nagaland and Manipur. NSCN(K) military advisor Niki Sumi is said to have instructed his cadres to attack security forces ahead of Independence Day” said a senior official of Nagaland Police Special Branch in Dimapur.

While the Assam Rifles has intensified its patrol along the porous Myanmar border in Nagaland and Manipur, the Nagaland government has already imposed prohibitary orders along the border areas.

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