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Nagaland: Hundreds joins 70-km-long Walkathon demanding repeal of AFSPA

DIMAPUR: Hundreds of Nagas from different walks of life on Monday joined the two-day walkathon from Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur to state capital Kohima, a distance of more than 70 km, demanding the repeal of AFSPA and justice for the 14 civilians who were killed by security forces in Mon district.

The walkathon, which stemmed from social media posts following the Mon killings, gained the support of various tribal bodies and civil society organisations in the state.

It began at the Super Market area of Dimapur with volunteers and participants holding placards, demanding the repeal of the “draconian” Armed Force Special Power Act (AFSPA) and justice for the victims.

Fourteen people were killed by security forces in a botched anti-insurgency operation in Mon district over December 4 and 5, leading to nationwide outrage and renewing the demand for repeal of AFSPA.

Maintaining that the state government and its police force are more than capable to handle the law and order situation, Wetsah said Nagas don’t need the colonial-era law — AFSPA.

Member of Forum for Naga Reconciliation Rev Dr Ellen Konyak offered prayers after which the walkathon began.

As the march crosses villages and towns on its way to Kohima, more people are expected to join, Wetsah said.

The participants would spend the night at Piphema, halfway to Kohima, before re-starting the march on Tuesday morning for the state capital. They would submit a memorandum to the Centre through Governor Jagdish Mukhi.

The Konyak Union, the apex body of the tribe to which the victims belonged, had demanded that justice be done by January 10.

It had also declared non-cooperation with the security forces till justice was delivered. It is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting on January 14 to decide the further course of action.

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