Several Naga organisations in Nagaland and Manipur have urged people not to take part in Republic Day celebrations on Wednesday to protest the killing of 14 civilians in Mon district last month.
The Naga Students’ Federation, Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation, All Naga Students’ Association and United Naga Council have called for boycotting Republic Day celebrations. They have sought justice for the civilians who were killed and demanded that the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act be repealed and progress be made in the Naga peace process.
The Naga Students’ Federation urged the residents to stay away from such celebrations till the Centre “continues with its policy of militarising our Naga homeland”.
“This is not in defiance of any forces on earth but the assertion that the voices of the Naga people cannot be muted despite the continued subjugation by forces reeking of colonial ideologies and practices,” the federation said.
The organisation also reiterated an earlier directive to its members not to associate with the Indian Army and paramilitary personnel, and not to accept any humanitarian aid from them. The federation urged the Nagaland government to make the report of a Special Investigation Team into the civilian killings public and ensure punishment to the guilty persons.
The Manipur unit of the United Naga Council also issued a directive to boycott Republic Day celebrations to show the people’s anger against the “delaying and frequent backtracking on the political settlement of historic Indo-Naga Framework Agreement even after more than six years of signing”.
The All Naga Students’ Association also told its constituent units to enforce a similar directive to protest against alleged backtracking by the Centre from the agreement, which was signed on August 3, 2015.
The ENPO also said that the people of eastern Nagaland will not co-operate with Indian security forces till justice is ensured with respect to the killings of the civilians, according to The Sentinel.
“The non-cooperation shall be in the form of abstinence from any national celebrations, or such activities,” a letter by the organisation said. “In accordance with the previous resolution, the people of eastern Nagaland shall not participate in the forthcoming Republic Day celebration on January 26.”
Civilian killings in Nagaland
On December 4, the Army’s 21 Para Special Force had opened fire at a pick-up van carrying coal miners from Tiru to Oting, killing six on board. They had apparently mistaken the group of workers for insurgents.
Angered by the killings, a crowd of protestors then set fire to the vehicles belonging to the Army. They opened fire again, killing seven more civilians. At least one more person was killed on December 5 after security forces fired back at protestors.
On December 20, the Nagaland Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to withdraw AFSPA from the North East region, especially from Nagaland.
However, days later, the Act was extended in the state for six months.
AFSPA gives Army personnel sweeping powers to search, arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order”.