Imphal, Sept 15:
Large number of people belonging to various Tangkhul CSOs today stage a protest rally at Ukhrul town denouncing the setting up of camp at 9 Tangkhul Village along the Indo-Myanmar border in Ukhrul and Kamjong district today.
Slogans demanding withdrawal of the Assam Riffle camps, repeal of APSPA filled the air of Ukhrul town today. During the protest rally almost all shops and other bsiness establishment remain shut.
The Assam Rifles had allegedly occupied land for establishment of camps at Kangpat Khullen, Chatric, Ramphoi, Lamlang, New Tusom, Khamasom, Mapum, Kasom Khullen and Poi in Kamjong and Ukhrul district. The CSO demanded withdrawal of the AR post as they fear distortion of peace and tranquility which has been maintain from time immemorial by the presence of the AR troopers as they have been empowered with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
The protest was organised by Tangkhul apex our bodies reminiscent of Tangkhul Naga Lengthy (TNL), Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Lengthy (TNWL), Tangkhul Shanao Lengthy (TSL), Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Lengthy (TMNL) and 4 different apex our bodies.
Meanwhile, the Global Naga Forum (GNF) has alleged that Assam Rifles have occupied nine villages in without the consent of the Naga village authorities.
A press release by the media cell of the GNF said the occupied villages are peaceful and belong to the Tangkhul indigenous people who have rights to their lands and way of life guaranteed by the Indian constitution.
GNF said there are no anti-government activities, law and order issues, anti-social problems in the villages that AR has moved into. It said the Government of India owes an explanation for what it termed an “unnecessary military intrusion in the lives of peaceful citizens.”
The press release by GNF stated, “It (GoI) owes it (explanation) to the people of these villages first and foremost, but also to the country as a whole since India is still a constitutional democracy, not a military dictatorship.
The GNF further stated, “People familiar with the Indian government’s treatment of the Nagas know that the military occupation of these villages will be defended as legally permissible under the 1958 Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).”
GNF said that though there is AFSPA on one hand, people are also aware that Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution guarantees Nagas the right to their lands and customary laws. It asked, “Why the Government of India acting in self-contradiction by sending armed forces to forcefully occupy peaceful Naga villages?
GNF pointed out that while on hand India is violating its own law protecting Naga rights (Art. 371 (A), it is enforcing another law (AFSPA) that takes away the same right, in clear violation of Naga people’s basic human rights, on the other hand.
GNF termed the action in Ukhrul as “a government in opposition to itself when it comes to Nagas” and the Nagas are put in a no-win situation vis-a-vis India.
Also pointing out the attitude of India towards Nagas that “ goes back as far as 1947”, GNF said, “For India, Nagas are born losers, barbaric rebels, lawless ‘undergrounds’, ‘gangrene’ on India’s body politic, who must be exterminated – to quote some Indian prime ministers.”
Also highlighting the Indo-Naga peace negotiations that is at an impasse, the Nagaland state elections due in a few months, and the Oting murder of fourteen innocent civilians by Indian armed forces without the guilty being prosecuted, GNF slammed the latest action of the Assam Rifles’ forceful occupation of nine peaceful villages in Ukhrul.
GNF quoted reports from Tangkhul civil society organizations on the development which stated that public spaces such as the playgrounds, schools, children homes and community halls are being used as camps thereby hindering their usual functioning, private spaces have also not been spared as constructions are being undertaken on private properties with utter disregard for its ownership.
The reports by Tangkhul CSOs lamented security check posts set up and villagers subjected to scrutiny as they go about their daily lives.
“This is not only an obvious discourtesy to the existing administration of the land but also a lack of consideration for the fears of the people”, the reports added.
The Tangkhul CSO reports in Ukhrul also highlighted how women and children especially are subjected to the fears caused by the unwarranted situation and the elders, who have not recovered from traumas caused by the violence of the armies in the past are being subjected to it all over.
The GNF said it questions the intent and purpose of the intensifying military build-up in Ukhrul district and has appealed to the prime minister and home minister to immediately intervene “if they are truly sincere in finding a non-military resolution of the Indo-Naga problem.”