The lone Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland, K.G. Kenye, sought the intervention of President Ram Nath Kovind to remove the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from Nagaland.
Kenye, who called on the President in New Delhi recently, explained that the Act was passed by the British in 1942 to suppress the Quit India Movement. He said the AFSPA, considered “draconian”, was discussed in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, popularly known as Geneva Convention, with members of the United Nations who declared not to formulate this kind of Act, according to a release issued by the MP’s public relations officer Kuvera Nakro on Saturday.
However, the MP said the government of India, despite being a signatory of the Geneva Convention, promulgated this Act on Nagaland against its own citizens 10 years after the declaration. The Act is in force in the state till today, he stated.
Kenye also took up various issues concerning Nagaland and the northeastern region with the President.
On Article 371(A) that provides special status to Nagaland to protect the Nagas, he said the Centre was not implementing the Article in letter and spirit.
Stating that it is a constitutional provision that cannot be encroached upon, Kenye sought Kovind’s intervention in allowing the state to explore its own natural resources, especially oil and natural gas given the poor economic condition of the state.
Stating that the Indo-Naga peace process is now gaining momentum with more participation, Kenye urged the Centre to seize this opportunity to bring about an honourable and acceptable settlement “to avoid further by-products” that had the potential to overshadow the main issue.
Strongly advocating building of a state-of-the-art international airport in Nagaland, the MP urged the President to take up the matter with the government. Kovind assured to consider his proposal on a priority basis, the release said.
Kenye also called for upgrading and strengthening North Eastern Council (NEC) for better development of the Northeast in view of the current geopolitical situation and taking into account the thrust New Delhi is putting in linking up the region with economies of South Asian and South East Asian countries.