• Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio Asks Centre To Remove AFSPA After Civilian Killings

    The Army on Sunday deeply regretted the civilian deaths and constituted a court of inquiry
    NORTHEAST

    Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday speaking on the civilian killings that have rocked the State said that his government is asking the Centre to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 from his State.

    He said, "I have spoken to Union Home Minister, he is taking the matter seriously. We have given financial assistance to affected families. We are asking the Central government to remove AFSPA from Nagaland."

    He added that the AFSPA has "blackened the image of our country." He was attending the mass funeral ceremony of the 14 victims that died in the last two days.

    Union Home Minister Amit Shah will make a detailed statement on the incident later today in both houses of the Parliament.

    On late Saturday evening, a special unit of the Indian Army mistakenly opened fire at a pick-up van carrying coal miners from the Tiru area to their village in Oting about 15 km away, killing six villagers. Soon after, a village search party found their bodies and attacked the soldiers, leading to firing in which seven more civilians died. A soldier was also killed.

    On Sunday, another civilian was killed in Mon district which is dominated by the Konyak tribe when security forces tried to repeal a mob attack on an Assam Rifles camp. At least 20 people have been injured in the ambush and in the violence that followed.

    The Army on Sunday deeply regretted the civilian deaths and constituted a court of inquiry into the circumstances that led to the tragic outcome.

    The AFSPA is an act of the Parliament that gives power to the army and central forces deployed in "disturbed areas" to kill anyone after giving due warning if they feel they are acting in contravention of the law. The Act further provides that if "reasonable suspicion exists", the armed forces can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.

    The AFSPA is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. It was withdrawn from Meghalaya in 2018.
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