Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Nagaland Oting Incident: National People Party shocked at petition filed in Supreme Court

National People’s Party (NPP) State unit has expressed shock at the petition filed in Supreme Court (SC) in connection with the Oting incident where 14 unarmed civilians were killed on December 4, 2021.
NPP in a statement pointed out that the concern of the first information report (FIR), findings and recommendations of Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the State Government and all other ancillary proceedings arising out of the incident, including the complaint filed by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), should have been taken into consideration before filing such a petition.
It also expressed its deep regret and unhappiness on the matter and felt that Indian Army must admit its total failure in carrying out its responsibilities. NPP said the incident was uncalled for and totally ignored the right to life of innocent people, who were butchered on December 4, 2021.
Quoting Article 21 that states “Protection of life and Personal Liberty: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by the Law”, NPP also questioned whether the act of the army personnel amounted to mutiny as the Army Act defined it, in so far their effort, “endeavours to seduce or gun down any person.” Did their moral duty of performing bona fide duties not tantamount to ravaging the rights of innocent people, it asked.
FIRs under sections 302, 307, 326, 201, 34 along with Section 120-B of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 were lodged in connection with the Oting incident. Keeping the situation in mind, along with the seriousness of the crime and the consequences, Nagaland Legislative Assembly had in a special session “unanimously resolved” to demand the Government of India to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
NPP also called for considering the turn of events leading to the filing of writ petitions by several agencies to ensure justice to the families of the bereaved and the wounded.
NPP alleged that the petitioners’ disregard towards the findings of SIT was just an excuse to prolong the case without any relevant proof or evidence to argue their position, asserting that members of SIT were well qualified and experienced. The allegations levelled by the petitioners regarding impartial investigation, arbitrariness, unilateral and illegal statements were therefore condemnable, it added.
According to the party, the investigation should not be construed as biased or trying to appease the public outcry and assuage the concern of the chosen few since SIT was honestly conducting the probe in a fair manner taking into consideration all evidences at the site of the incident and statements of witnesses and survivors.
Further, the party questioned the acts of the perpetrators and accused in their refusal to be bound by the SIT report, also asking whether such actions amounted to wilful disobedience of the ruling of the highest investigative body.
It feared that the acts of the accused in creating diversionary tactics of questioning the findings of SIT or filing writ petitions in SC could be an effort to bring the matter to a dead end or to let it die a slow death before the accused could be brought to justice.
NPP appealed to the government to take necessary steps for early prosecution of the accused persons in accordance with the law of the land. It remined that the Constitution of India did not recognise the armed forces as either superior or independent of civil authority, citing Article 53(2): “The supreme command of the Defence Forces of the Union shall be vested in the President and exercise thereof shall be regulated by Law”.
The party stressed ensuring immediate justice to the families who had lost their dear ones.
It also appealed to the Supreme Court to understand the gravity of the incident and weigh all pros and cons in a fair and unbiased manner and deliver justice to the families of victims as early as possible that would be acceptable to all, adding that justice delayed was justice denied.


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