Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], December 6 (ANI): Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on Monday demanded the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the northeast.
"AFSPA should be repealed," tweeted Sangma.
Sangma's comments came two days after an Army unit in Nagaland mistook a group of villagers for insurgents and opened fire, killing 13 civilians in the security operation at an India-Myanmar border district of Mon in the Oting village.
The Army, in a statement, expressed deep regret over the "unfortunate loss of lives" in a counter-insurgency that went awry, and added the incident is being investigated at the highest level as outrage over the killing continued.
The irate villagers torched vehicles of security forces and some people were reportedly shot when security forces opened fire to control the mob.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Sunday ordered a high-level probe into the killings of civilians.
A day after the incident, the state government on Sunday prohibited all mobile internet, data services, bulk SMS of all providers in the entire area of the Mon district.
On June 30, the Ministry of Home Affairs extended the AFSPA in Nagaland for another six months. According to a notification by the MHA, the Act will remain in effect in Nagaland until December 31. It allows security forces the power to search, arrest and open fire to maintain public order in four of India's seven northeastern states.
In 2019, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju in a written reply in Lok Sabha said, "At present, there is no proposal to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958."
"Presently, AFSPA, 1958 is operational in entire States of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (except Imphal Municipal area), three districts namely Tirap, Changlang and Longding of Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam.
The notification declaring Manipur and Assam as "Disturbed Areas' have been issued by the State Governments. State Government of Nagaland has not supported extension of notification declaring Nagaland as 'Disturbed Area' under AFSPA, 1958," he had said. (ANI)