Naga NGO wants action against Assam Rifles for attack on civilians 

Kohima, Sep 18 (IANS) Even as the Central government imposed a five-year ban on National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), a well-known social non-governmental organisation has written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the home ministry seeking a high-level enquiry into alleged killing of women and children by the security forces.

The government has said that “strong action” would be taken against any violation of human rights.

The Naga Mothers’ Association, which works to tackle social problems like drug addiction and alcoholism, and work towards peace in the state, said it had provided the government with evidence on the actions of the Assam Rifles personnel.

“We had submitted a memorandum to the PMO and the home ministry, before the ban was decided, giving first hand account of the Assam Rifles killings of civilians and women with photographic evidence and demanding a high-level inquiry in one of the latest incident at Pangsha, Rosemary Dzuvichu, adviser to NMA, told IANS here.

The incident refers to a recent ambush by Assam Rifles in an Indo-Myanmar bordering village, Pangsha, killing a total of six NSCN(K) cadres and three civilians. The incident happened on the same day a delegation of NMA was invited to hold talks with the NSCN(K) to discuss re-joining the ceasefire.

Confirming the meeting with the NMA, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, the government was very clear regarding any military operation and the SoP (standard operating procedures) involved, which is very clearly laid down. “In the North-East also we have very categorically implemented it to see that there is no human rights violation during the operations,” Rijiju told IANS on phone.

The minister, who’s in charge of human rights issues said: “I have been calling my secretaries, joint secretaries and other officials to ensure that human rights violations are completely avoided in every circumstance.”

Rijiju said that if the government comes to know that any officer or soldier was deliberately involved in hitting innocents, “strong action” would be initiated against him or her.

The NMA was started by Neidonuo Angami, a social worker who was later given the Padma Shri for her work.

The NMA adviser said that the ban on the NSCN (K) was another sign of the “dual policy of the government with no true commitment to peace,”

Dzuvichu said the ban, in the midst of peace building efforts by the people, “is very much unwarranted. We appeal for peace to both the Indian government and the NSCN(K).”

The Indian government had banned the militant outfit under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1957 on September 16.

The delegation of NMA, which had visited the Indo-Myanmar border areas to hold talks with the NSCN(K) leaders, after being tasked to do so by the central government, has also expressed its “shock” over the ban.

The NMA is likely to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh once again in the national capital to discuss the concerns over killings of civilians under the protection of the Armed Forces Specials Powers Act (AFSPA) and hunting down of the NSCN(K) leaders.

The memorandum submitted by the NMA also demanded the withdrawal of all existing armed forces from the state and redeployment of of Naga Indian Reserve Battalions within the state. The Naga IRBs are at present posted in Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Delhi. This, the NMA said, would calm down the conflict and give “a breather for peace initiatives.”

According to the NMA, they had also taken up the issue with the Inspector General of Assam Rifles in Nagaland’s capital, Kohima, but received no response.

The memorandum states: “The NMA is committed to bring our brothers in the NSCN(K) into the ceasefire with the Indian Government and, will continue in our peace initiatives. We will continue to reach out to the other Naga political groups, in hope that we ensure peaceful future and destiny for our younger generations.”

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