Even as the world, including the Nagas, continue to frantically battle with the Corona Virus Pandemic, along with the world, side by side, the Government of India, continues to militarily wage war on innocent Naga civilians on one pretext or the other. While on the one hand, the Indian army in recent times have been aggressively intruding into Naga areas under the present Indian state of Manipur to launch operations against their “so-called insurgents”- with whom they are in Ceasefire and Political negotiations. On the other hand, in another present Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh; Indian Army is ruthlessly engaged in kidnapping and torturing Naga civilians.
Ø On the 14th of May 2020, personnel of the 19th Sikh Regiment under the Command of Col. D. K. Tiwari, arrested Nokchai Wangsu, from Pumao Village. He was taken to their Army Base Camp at Longding, where he was tortured and interrogated and released after sternly warning him not to disclose the incident to any person to which effect he was forced to sign on a paper without allowing him to know its contents.
Ø Again the next day on the 15th of May 2020, the same group of Army personnel of the 19th Sikh Regiment picked up Jimphu Wangnow, also of Pumao Village, who was also beaten and tortured for no reason.
Ø Following the inhuman act, on the 16th of May 2020, the Villagers of Pumao gathered at the house of the Village Chief to clarify the reasons for these atrocious acts and behaviour of the Indian Army personnel of the 19th Sikh Regiment, who also came to the meeting under the Command of Captain Preteek Dabas.
Ø During the meeting, the personnel of the Indian Army started to panic when some of the villagers brought the victims to the meeting hall to have first hand information, and started leaving the meeting hall. Some of the villagers and specially the women folks tried to bring them back. But instead of coming back; they started opening fire, which infuriated some of the young people who also resorted to stone pelting. The Army personnel then trained their guns on the civilians and killed Mr. Lamdaan Lukham and injured several others in the process.
This version was fully corroborated by the Civil Administration who announced a compensation of 50,000/- Indian Rupees for the dead and 25,000/- Indian Rupees each for all those injured. The District Superintendent of Police also informed that an Enquiry has been initiated.
However, in a blatant lie to cover their misdeeds, the Indian Army through its Tezpur based Defence PRO Harsh Wardhan Pande, issued a statement saying; “insurgents had open fire on the security forces using civilians as human shields and that the civilian had died in the crossfire”.
The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) is fully aware that so many civil society organizations at the local levels as well as from the North Eastern region have condemned and sought for justice through various forms, including the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission of India. However, we are very pessimistic to expect any positive responses from Government agencies and institutions such as the NHRC which continue to function only as an eye-wash to the misdeeds of the Indian army operating in North East India, Jammu and Kashmir and other trouble-torn regions in different parts of India and as a window dressing to shield the inhuman and gruesome acts of the Government of India through its military might. Our memories are also still fresh when the National Human Rights Commission of India supported the upholding of the Armed Forces (Special Powers), Act – AFSPA, 1958, in the Supreme Court of India, during a hearing in July 1997, under Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights – Vrs – Union of India under a Petition filed for the Repeal of AFSPA.
NPMHR therefore calls upon the Indian Civil society Organizations, Democratic Rights institutions, People’s Movements as well as the international communities, United Nation’s agencies and others, to take cognisance of these heinous atrocities of the Government of India, who have denied even the basic “right to life” of the Naga people, leave alone the recognition of our people hood. The NPMHR also calls upon the Government of India albeit its inhuman track record to listen to its conscience and refrain from continuing its military bloddbath.
NPMHR also take this opportunity to express and extend our support and solidarity with the people of India, be it the people of Kashmir, the political prisoners, migrant workers, displaced people of developmental aggressions, trade unionists, forest people, farmers, fishermen and women, all those affected by anti-poor and anti-working class approach of the Govt. of India, the abandoned millions of toiling masses all across India, and all struggling peoples of the Indian sub-continent.
– Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights,
Dated Kohima the 20th of May 2020, Nagaland.