AFSPA main culprit, has bred animosity: Nagaland RS MP

AFSPA is the main culprit, it has bred animosity: Nagaland Rajya Sabha MP

This is an impediment to the unity and integrity of the country and has done no good: KG Kenye, senior MP from Nagaland

KG Kenye, senior MP from Nagaland in Rajya Sabha. Credit: DH Photo

The killing of civilians by security personnel in Nagaland on Saturday has shocked the country. The Government and Army attribute it to mistaken identity even as a Special Investigation Team have been assigned to probe this incident and subsequent protests in which also some civilians are killed in firing by security personnel. 

KG Kenye, a senior MP from Nagaland in Rajya Sabha, spoke to DH's Shemin Joy on the incident and the growing demand for repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. 

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Saturday's incident has been very unfortunate. What is your take on the incident?

We have expressed our anguish. We are concerned. It was never expected. It took us by surprise.

Home Minister Amit Shah made a statement in Parliament on the Nagaland incident. Are you satisfied with the content?

The description by the Home Minister on the circumstances that led to the incident is yet to be authenticated. The Nagaland government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT). They are investigating the issue. We may choose to differ on the description given by the Home Minister once the investigation is over. But the marked difference from previous years is the government's expression of sincere regret. That is something we appreciate. It is a paradigm shift.

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There is a demand for withdrawal of AFSPA. Two Chief Ministers from the northeast have made a renewed appeal. What is your demand?

AFSPA is the main culprit. This is the key element that has bred animosity. It has done nothing good. It is detrimental to national interest and with such Acts, these kinds of incidents will continue to happen. This single Act has given too much power to the armed forces to commit atrocities on their own people. A debate is ongoing for the past 60 years on this. This must go to ensure that there is no recurrence of such incidents.

Do you think the government will be in agreement with the demand for removal of AFSPA?*

Going by the way the government is introspecting outstanding issues of the past ever since independence, I am confident. This is one lingering legacy of the colonial era. Why shouldn't we revisit this? This is an impediment to the unity and integrity of the country. It has done no good. I am confident right-thinking citizens will support the demand for repealing the Act.

Read | Army made no attempt to identify civilians before shooting, tried to 'hide' bodies: Report

What impact this incident with have on the Naga peace process?

It is a serious challenge. This incident could lead to the derailment of the talks. It has the capacity to stall the process. It should be contained and handled with care.

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