A 10-hour bandh was observed in five districts of the northeastern Indian state of Nagaland on Thursday. The bandh was called after security forces opened fire earlier this month in the Mon district of northern Nagaland, killing 14 people.
The five districts observed are Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire, Naklak and Mon. The activists have banned the entry of Indian security forces in Mone. The issue is uncomfortable for India for strategic reasons. Because these districts are bordered by Myanmar to the east and Arunachal Pradesh to the north.
Public life in these five districts of northern and eastern Nagaland was disrupted. Government and private offices were closed along with vehicles on the road. The Konyak Union, an organization of Konyak Nagas, one of about 20 major Naga tribes, is currently leading the anti-military movement. Apart from this, other tribes are also supporting the movement.
The Konyak Union said in a statement that it would “walk the path of complete non-cooperation” with India’s security forces. Instructing the landowners to sever all ties with the army, the union further said that no village council, students or people from any section of the society could take any help or grant (from the government) in Konyak. For the time being, there will be no social events in Nagaland and the national festivals of India will also be excluded.
The organization that is working to bring different groups under one umbrella is called Eastern Naga People’s Organization (ENPO). Several other tribal groups, such as Foam, Chang, Khiamiyangan, and Santam, also joined the movement. The ENPO has demanded that the guilty security personnel be punished and Home Minister Amit Shah withdraw his statement in the Indian Parliament. Amit Shah told parliament that the army had fired on Naga workers in self-defense.
On the other hand, the peace talks between the central government of India and the Muiva faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, a major Naga political organization, broke down a few days ago. Nagaland has also become heated due to this incident. Four of the seven districts in the Northeast have the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA in place. This law limits human rights. Nagaland has also come out against this.
The Naga Students Federation, a Naga student and youth organization, announced a procession on Friday to demand the withdrawal of AFSPA.