Demand to Repeal Armed Forces Act Grows Louder in India's Nagaland, People Stage 75-km March

© AP Photo / Yirmiyan ArthurA Naga holds a placard during a rally protesting the killings of fourteen civilians by Indian army soldiers earlier this month, in Kohima, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.
A Naga holds a placard during a rally protesting the killings of fourteen civilians by Indian army soldiers earlier this month, in Kohima, capital of the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.01.2022
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The Indian state of Nagaland was declared a "disturbed area" in 1958. The decades-long insurgency was not crushed despite the 1958 Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which allows security forces to kill anyone violating the law. Since December, local people have been demanding the withdrawal of AFSPA from the state.
Thousands of people in India's Nagaland have organised a 75-km-long march, demanding that Armed Forces Special Powers Act be repealed in the northeastern state.
The march, which was launched in the city of Dimapur on Monday, is set to conclude in the state capital of Kohima on Tuesday after protesters submit a memorandum to the Governor of the state.
Photos and videos shared over social media show people holding placards and banners condemning the AFSPA. They are seen raising slogans seeking justice for the 14 civilians killed by armed forces in a botched operation on 4 December in the state's Mon District.
On 4 December, an ambush laid against separatist militants by the Indian Army in the district went wrong and resulted in six villagers being fatally shot.
Later, local villagers clashed with the army over the botched ambush operation. This led to the death of seven more locals and one soldier.
On 5 December, clashes erupted once again between the army and local residents, which led to the death of one civilian. In total, 15 people including one soldier died.
Meanwhile, in the latest development, various Naga NGOs have spearheaded the two-day protest, and many citizens from different parts of Nagaland participated in the walkathon.
Speaking with Sputnik, Eastern Naga Students Federation President Chingmak Chang said, "We're overwhelmed with the response by people. So many people have joined this walkathon."
"Using AFSPA, a lot of atrocities have been committed. The killing of civilians in Mon District is a reminder of how this diabolical act works," Chang added.
In December, however, the federal government extended the AFSPA six more months in the state. The central government, however, has set up a committee to look into the AFSPA withdrawal. The panel will submit its report during the first week of February.
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