People set out on a two-day march demanding AFSPA repeal in Dimapur on Monday morning. Pic by Bhadra Gogoi

Over 100 people, both young and old, set out on a two-day march on foot from Supermarket in Dimapur to Kohima on Monday morning demanding immediate repeal of the AFSPA in Nagaland. Some bikers were also seen joining the march at the starting point here.

Sources said many others joined the march from different locations along the 74 km route, 60 km stretch of which is on the hills.

After a night halt on the way to Piphema on Monday, the marchers will reach Kohima on Tuesday and submit a memorandum to the Centre through Nagaland Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi requesting for immediate removal of the Act from the state.

The march was triggered by the killing of 13 innocent civilians at Oting in a botched operation by the 21 Para Security Forces on December 4 last year and another civilian in firing by the Assam Rifles the following day in the subsequent violence that followed in Mon town and extension of the AFSPA in the state on December 30 last year for another six months.

The organisers of the ‘March against AFSPA’ earlier requested the participants to listen and obey the authorities and not to indulge in any form of violence or destroy public property during the two-day march.

The participants were also asked not to show their emotions, heckle or harass military personnel on duty or disturb any military convoy.

“This is a purely non-violent and peaceful march. We shall silently march till the end,” coordinators of the march said in a release.

Dimapur deputy commissioner Rajesh Soundararajan on Sunday granted permission to hold the march on the condition that the participants would adhere to all Covid-19 SOPs and protocols.

The permit has been granted on the conditions that all the participants should be asymptomatic and fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and that the organisers would be responsible for ensuring strict adherence to the terms and conditions, the DC said.

The DC warned that any person or group of persons acting in violation of the conditions, including other existing orders, SOPs and guidelines for preventing spread of Covid-19 would be liable to be prosecuted under relevant sections of the law.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com