The United Naga Council (UNC) on Saturday demanded the Government of India to “immediately” withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, (AFSPA) from the “Naga homeland and restore confidence and goodwill in the Indo-Naga peace process”.
“The extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) to the entire state of Manipur excluding 19 police stations in Imphal valley for the period of six months with effect from October 1, 2023, is arbitrary, biased and discriminatory,” the UNC said in a statement issued to Newmai News Network late Saturday.
The Naga body said the exemption of areas under 19 police stations in Imphal valley “which is gripped by violence and lawlessness since May 3, 2023, in sharp contrast to the AFSPA coverage in the peaceful Naga areas in the state is highly questionable”.
The UNC then said the routine extension of the “draconian law in Naga areas”, in spite of peace and normalcy that have prevailed since the signing of the Indo- Naga Ceasefire on July 1, 1997 and also the Framework Agreement between the Government of India and the NSCN (I-M) on August 3, 2015, reflects lack of sincerity of the Government of India and the Government of Manipur with regard to the Indo-Naga peace process.
The UNC also said, “While the World at large is watching the progress of the Indo-Naga peace talks at the highest level with the return of peace and normalcy, the Naga areas have been languishing under the draconian AFSPA of 1958”. The Naga body added by saying that the “blatant and continued imposition of AFSPA has further sullied the democratic credentials of India and has become a hindrance to the peace process and its progress in the subcontinent”.
The UNC then said it “vehemently” opposed the continued imposition of AFSPA, 1958, in Naga areas and urged the Government of India to immediately withdraw the same from the Naga homeland and restore confidence and goodwill in the Indo-Naga peace process.