Amid outrage over the mistaken killings of 14 civilians in a botched army operation against insurgents, the Nagaland government will write to the Centre calling for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that gives sweeping powers to the army in troubled regions.
Nagaland will also call off the Hornbill Festival, an annual event that draws thousands of domestic and foreign tourists. Today was the sixth day of the signature 10-day event.
The decisions were taken in an “urgent meeting” of the Nagaland cabinet.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had yesterday said AFSPA must be removed as it was the cause of unrest and pain in his state.
The remarks are even more significant as Mr Rio is an ally of the BJP and part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
On Saturday, 14 villagers and a soldier died in Nagaland’s Mon district after an Army op to track down insurgents went off script. A police FIR has said the Army’s 21 Para Special Forces “blankly opened fire”.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in a statement in parliament yesterday, expressed regret over the incident and said it was a case of mistaken identity.