Janhastakshep unequivocally condemns the callous murder of 13 civilians in Oting village in Tiru area of Mon district of Nagaland, bordering the Indo-Myanmar border in what has been called as a ‘botched encounter’ operation carried out on the 4 December 2021.
This operation is only one among a series leading to such loss of innocent civilian lives at the hands of the Indian security forces. The matter of fact is that it is not just the operations of the forces which are botched, but the very politics, policies, intent, and the morality of India’s ruling elite that is botched in as much as it seeks to ensure the unity and integrity of the country by muzzling democratic aspirations of the people under the jackboot rather than aspiring for the unity of the hearts and minds of the various Nationalities that comprise India.
In the instant case it is pertinent to note that despite the Modi government having signed the Naga peace accord on 3rd August 2015 with NSCN, there has been little meaningful progress towards facilitating the conditions on ground wherein the Naga people can realize their democratic aspirations. Instead, the Center’s nominee to the state, Governer R N Ravi has been busy issuing edicts aimed at further curtailing the democratic expression of their grievances by the people in the state.
The armed forces already enjoy full impunity for their actions under the provisions of draconian acts like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The political and policy orientation of the present government at the Centre, by valorizing the highhanded criminal misconduct of the security forces, may it be in North East, Kashmir, or even in states like Uttar Pradesh, is bound to lend a little credibility to the claims of ‘botched encounter’ in the eyes of the people in Nagaland or the vast masses waging valiant struggles in different parts of the country for the realization of their democratic aspirations.
Janhastakshep demands a free and fair inquiry into the incident supervised by a credible authority and the strictest possible punishment for those found guilty. Apart from this, the onus lies on the Central and the State government of Nagaland to assuage the people of the state and ensure the fullest physical and economic security of the families of those killed in the incident.