KOHIMA: Rising People's Party, a new political entity in Nagalannd, condemning the Mon killings, urged the Neiphiu Rio-led State government to stop the on-going Hornbill festival
"Whether it's the Assam Rifles or the 21 Para, the fact remains that the Indian army slaughtered 14 civilians and injured scores in broad daylight in Mon district This is unforgivable," said party chief Joel Naga, adding that the Rising People's Party strongly suspects that the civilians were "deliberately targeted."
The Rising People's Party also condemned "the insinuation of Indian media houses that the killings were collateral damage."
Adding that "when such a colossal tragedy has struck us, it is inappropriate to be celebrating", Naga's RPP appealed to all the Naga people to shun/withdraw from the Hornbill festival "as a sign of respect to the departed souls."
At this tragic hour its inappropriate to be mourning and dancing at the same time, Naga added in his communique.
Further, the party has demanded that the state government should declare a 7 day state mourning during which all festivities should be cancelled including the ongoing Hornbill festival.
All the 60 MLAs of the NIA should put forward a joint statement that the Mon killings is a case of murder, the party further demanded.
The Mon killings require a thorough probe by a sitting Judge of the High court/Supreme Court and he state government should initiate steps to ensure that the army personnel involved in the killings are tried in civilian courts, the party added.
The party also demanded the state government should pay adequate compensation to the bereaved families and to the injured ones.
Targeting the 'draconian' Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Naga said that "With the Mon killings, the AFSPA is once again in the limelight. Perhaps it would be pertinent for the Naga negotiating groups and the Naga CSOs to first work towards the removal of the Act."
Meanwhile, Nagaland Governor Jagdish Mukhi has informed that a special investigation team to probe the firing incident had been constituted.
On the other hand, the festive atmosphere in the ongoing Hornbill festival has been disrupted, with the Konyak tribe (native to Mon) suspending activities. At the same time, the Sumi Hoho has also urged fellow Nagas to stand in solidarity with their eastern Naga brethren and withdraw from the festival.
Reportedly, a group of daily-wage labourers from Oting village were returning home from a coal mine in a pick-up van when they were allegedly shot at by the security forces. At least 13 civilians and one soldier perished in the violence.
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