PUCL Bulletin, June 2001

Civil groups in Kohima call for repeal of undemocratic laws in Naga areas

A number of civil society groups and individuals met at Kohima on March 19 and passed the following resolutions:

  1. We resolve to constitute a People's Commission comprising eminent persons from Naga areas and India to look into all violations of democratic rights of Naga people which have taken place both before and during the current ceasefire as well as investigate how scarce resources meant for the state of Nagaland have been squandered by various agencies and institutions.
  2. We hereby resolve to launch a campaign against all draconian laws in operation or being framed for their enforcement in Naga areas as well as other parts of the Indian sub-continent.

Kohima Declaration:
The Civil society groups also adopted the following declaration at the meeting held in Kohima on March 19th 2001:
"We, the members of the civil society, convinced that the overwhelming desire of the Naga people is to live in dignity and freedom which have been denied to them for over 53 years, and mindful of the imperative need for a peacefully negotiated solution reiterate the following:

"The partial cease-fire which has lasted for over three and a half years is a cause for concern because:

  1. Political dialogue has yet to start.
  2. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other draconian laws continue to be in operation.
  3. Organisations with which negotiations are to be held have been banned and warrants of arrest issued against their leaders.
  4. Violations of basic rights of people carry on.
  5. A campaign of calumny has been unleashed against Naga civil society groups.

"Furthermore, corruption of civilian and security apparatus have reached endemic proportions and paralysed all development.

"We therefore demand:

  1. The withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, National Security Act, Nagaland Security Regulation, 1962, Assam Maintenance of Public order, 1963, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other such draconian laws and democratic rights of people be restored;
  2. Government of India must ensure withdrawal of all cases against the members of the Naga National Movement;
  3. Ceasefire be honoured in letter and spirit between the two parties namely the Government of India and NSCN (IM) and role of the civil administration be fully established; and the Government of India without further delay fulfill its commitment to hold unconditional talks at the highest level.

Mindful of the anxieties and fears that have been stoked by several quarters, deliberately misinterpreting the terms of the ceasefire, we feel that these apprehensions need to be addressed in order to ensure that divisions are not created between the Nagas and their neighbours to thwart the peace process.

"While appreciating the ongoing efforts made by the Naga people and their organizations, we urge them to carry on the dialogue with all neighbouring communities for resolution of all issues that concern them, in the spirit of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.

"We also believe that due recognition must be given and acknowledgement made to the women and youth for their contribution to the Naga people's struggle for peace and justice.

"Finally we affirm the need to build a wider peace constituency in order that the civil society can play its pivotal role in promoting just and democratic peace

Home | Index