A crucial closed-door meeting was held at the residence of Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Sunday on the issue of demand of repealing of AFSPA.
The meeting was attended by Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, deputy CM Y Patton, NPF leader TR Zeliang, Nagaland home secretary Abhijit Sinha, DGP John Longkumer, additional chief secretary and finance secretary.
The meeting was called by the Nagaland CM to apprise the state’s bureaucracy about the details of the recent meeting between a Naga political leaders’ delegation with union home minister Amit Shah.
Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, deputy CM Y Patton, NPF leader TR Zeliang, accompanied by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on December 23, met Amit Shah in New Delhi and discussed the possibilities on withdrawing AFSPA from Nagaland and Northeast.
Briefing the media, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio stated that Amit Shah has assured the delegation of constituting a high-level committee to study the possibilities of withdrawing AFSPA from Nagaland.
“The five-member committee will be headed by additional secretary (Northeast), MHA and will comprise of Nagaland chief secretary, DGP, IGR North and representative from CRPF,” NPF leader TR Zeliang informed this correspondent.
Zeliang also informed that the commandos of the 21 Para special forces involved in the killing of innocent Naga civilians in the botched counter-insurgency operation will be placed under suspension.
“Demand of the people is clear – repeal AFSPA. And we are working towards it. But, this will take time as repealing the act will have to pass through both the houses of the Parliament,” Zeliang added.
Meanwhile, according to reports, the union home ministry is likely to explore the possibility of partially lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Nagaland and some other Northeast states.
Although most of the leaders in the Northeast are unanimous in voicing demand for repeal of AFSPA, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has favoured continuation of the ‘draconian’ Act his state.
Shah reportedly told Rio and the others that if the AFSPA were to be lifted even partially, the modalities would have to be worked out and the state police would have to shoulder more responsibilities in maintaining law and order.
The Centre will have to take a call before December 31 when the notification of the disturbed area, which enables AFSPA, will expire in Nagaland.
Demand for repeal of the ‘draconian’ AFSPA has been growing louder ever since killing of 14 innocent civilians by security forces in a botched counter-insurgency operation in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4.
The Nagaland Assembly, recently, had “unanimously resolved” to demand the Centre for repeal of AFSPA from the Northeast.
“The Nagaland Legislative Assembly unanimously resolves to demand that the Government of India repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 from the Northeast and especially Nagaland,” the resolution moved by chief minister Neiphiu Rio read.