KOHIMA: Nagaland's ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) with Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio as its senior leader on Friday demanded to nullify and revoke Union Home Ministrys notification extending the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the entire state till June 30 next year.
The NDPP's move came after almost all the political parties in the region as well as the Naga civil society organisations (CSOs) strongly demanded to repeal AFSPA after the killing of 14 civilians by the armed forces personnel in Mon district earlier this month.
The BJP with 12 MLAs is an ally of the NDPP-led Nagaland government, and the saffron party's legislative group leader Y. Patton is the Deputy Chief Minister.
The NDPP said in a statement that issuing notification and order with 'such language' is unwarranted and will negatively impact the ambition and aspiration of the younger generation, especially when people are anxiously waiting for a final settlement of the Naga peace talk involving various groups.
"Nagaland has been undergoing positive growth in tourism and service sectors and it has emerged as a popular destination. But with unnecessary extension of disturbed areas and the imposition of AFSPA, our efforts towards economic growth and integration with the mainstream will only be negatively impacted," the statement said.
The statement issued by the NDPP's media and communication committee said that the ceasefire, which has been in place for the last 25 years, is working and there is relative peace and tranquillity in the region, while the overall law and order situation in Nagaland has also been very peaceful.
"There is a mass movement against AFSPA, with the Nagaland Assembly loudly advocating the feelings of the people through a resolution on December 20, which has been submitted to the government of India through the Union Home Minister (Amit Shah)," it said.
"The MHA notification only belittles the high-level meeting held between the Home Minister, Chief Ministers of Nagaland and Assam, Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland, the leader of the Naga People's Front (NPF) legislative party and former Chief Minister of Nagaland on December 23 in Delhi," it added.
The notification comes at a time when the people of Nagaland are confidently under the impression that with the setting up of the high-powered committee by the MHA to seriously examine and consider the repeal of AFSPA and removal of the disturbed area coverage, no order or notification would be issued till the report of the committee is final, the statement said.
It said: "It has come as a rude shock and a huge disappointment to the people of the state that such a notification has been issued on the penultimate day of 2021."
The statement said that at a time when the Naga people have put their trust and confidence on the assurance that the peace talks are moving in a positive direction, the government of India must make efforts towards building confidence and strengthening that trust.
"It must make every possible effort to increase the role of the youth and the younger generation in the nation building process. By passing such an unpopular and unwanted order, the feeling of alienation will only grow. It is high time the narrative is reversed," the NDPP statement said. (IANS)