Hundreds of Nagas began a two-day walkathon on Monday to cover a 70-km distance from Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur to state capital Kohima demanding the repeal of Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and justice for the 14 civilians who were killed by security forces in Mon district in December.
The people were seen holding placards and banners againsy AFSPA and heard raising slogans seeking justice for the 14 victims.
The two-day walkathon was spearheaded by various Naga Civil Society Organisations after a massive social media campaign for it for the past few weeks.
As the march crosses several villages and small towns, more men and women are expected to join, the organisers said.
The participants of the walkathon would do the night halt at Piphema, halfway to Kohima, before resuming the march on Tuesday morning to end their journey at the state capital.
In Kohima, the leaders of the walkathon would submit a memorandum to the Centre through the state’s acting Governor Jagdish Mukhi.
Eastern Naga Students Federation President Chingmak Chang said that the walkathon is being organised to remind the central and state governments to repeal the AFSPA at the earliest.
He said that the march was very peaceful, silent and democratic to convey the resentment of the people against the AFSPA and protect the dignity of the Nagas as human beings.
“We would continue our programmes in various manners until the government respond positively towards our demands,” Mr Chang told the media.
He said without considering the mass demand to repeal the AFSPA, the Centre on December 30 extended the act for six more months. “This is intolerable,” he said.
After the Mon district killing, Nagaland witnessed agitations demanding repeal of AFSPA and punishment for the security personnel involved in the botched operations.
Besides the three wings of the Konyak Unions, several other organisations including the Naga People’s Front (NPF), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) have been agitating to repeal AFSPA from the entire northeastern region.