Civil societies and tribal bodies in Nagaland observed a complete shutdown in five districts of the state between 6 am and 4 pm on Thursday to protest the killing of 14 civilians by security forces earlier this month, reported East Mojo.
The Konyak Union, a body of the tribe that goes by the same name, called for the shutdown in the Mon district, where the 14 people were killed. Most of the deceased belonged to the Konyak tribe.
Members of the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation staged protests in four other districts of Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire and Noklak, according to the Deccan Herald.
The Konyak Union’s assistant general secretary said that district authorities, fire, medical and other emergencies, and students appearing for examinations will be exempted from the bandh. The tribal body also urged all authorities and residents to not cause chaos.
The Konyak Union and the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization have also decided not to cooperate with security forces till their demands related to the killings are met.
The primary demand of the groups is that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act should be repealed from Nagaland. The groups have also demanded that Union Minister Amit Shah should withdraw his statement in Parliament claiming that the security forces had fired in self-defence.
The Konyak Union had on Monday asked members of the community to ensure “total restriction on Indian military force convoy and patrolling” within their areas. The tribal body had also asked village councils, other bodies and students not to accept “any forms of developmental packages or assistances from the Indian military forces”.
Earlier this week, families of the civilians killed said that they will not accept compensation from the government until the officers involved in the killings are punished and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is repealed.
On Tuesday, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization had announced that their non-cooperation would include not participating in the Army’s civic programmes in their areas, reported East Mojo. The association had also said that it would write to the state government to set up the state Human Rights Commission.
The Konyak Union had on Monday said that they will hold a public demonstration held across Mon district as the first phase of their mass protests. During the protest, black flags would be put up on every vehicle, and protestors will wear black badges, the union said.
Meanwhile, the Naga Students Federation has announced a mega rally in Kohima on Friday to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
On the evening of December 4, the Army’s 21 Para Special Force had opened fire at a pick-up van carrying coal miners from Tiru to Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district, killing six on board. They had apparently mistaken the group of workers for insurgents.
A crowd of protestors then set fire to vehicles belonging to the army. They opened fire again, killing seven more civilians.
The violence spilled over into Sunday afternoon after locals entered a camp of the Assam Rifles in the district headquarters of Mon. At least one more person was killed after security forces fired back at protestors.
On December 6, the Union home minister told Parliament that the Centre regrets the killing of the 14 civilians in Mon district. Shah also said all agencies have been asked to ensure that such civilian casualties do not occur while acting against insurgents in the future.