Tuesday, January 31, 2023

‘Black Day’: Oting villagers demand justice


Hundreds of people of Oting village, led by Oting Village Council (OVC), Oting Citizens’ Forum (OCF) and Oting Students’ Union (OSU), on Sunday gathered at the public ground Oting, to pay homage to the 13 innocent civilians killed in the botched operation by the Army’s Special Opera¬tions Team of 21 Paras on December 4, 2021 at Oting/Tiru area and another person killed in Mon town on December 5 in the aftermath of the Oting incident.
As directed by the ENPO, houses across Eastern Nagaland also hoisted black flags on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the Oting incident as a ‘Black Day’.
OSU president Keapwang expressed anguish over the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the Central and State governments in ensuring punishment of the culprits even as investigation had been completed, denying justice to the victims’ families. He alleged that the State government had not taken cognizance of the injured persons by compensating them as per the severity of their injury even after OCF had submitted a representation to chief minister Neiphiu Rio through local MLA P Paiwang Konyak.
It may be mentioned that OCF had submitted representation to the chief minister for compensation to injured through P Paiwang Konyak in June, to which the State government was yet to respond.
Keapwang claimed that few of the injured like Sheiwang, Phojem, Yeihwang and Tingshen, etc, would not ever be able to stand on their own feet and appealed to the State government to extend them compensation at the earliest. After the Oting incident, he said their lives had completely changed and they could never be normal again.
In his speech, village guard (VG) commandant Lenwang recalled the painful incidents on December 4 and 5 2021 and claimed that none of the victims were involved in any militant activity and were all innocent, insisting that killing of innocent civilians should be punished.
Speaking on behalf of the victims’ family members, Chemwang Konyak vowed to continue to fight for justice, terming that the death of his son in the incident as not only a great loss for his family, but for the Konyaks and Naga as a whole. He appealed Konyak Union (KU), Eastern Nagaland People’s Union (ENPO) and Nagas to help him and victims’ families get justice for the loss of their loved ones who were innocent.
OVC office-bearers acknowledged all well-wishers and Nagas in general for standing by them during the darkest night of Oting.
Student bodies remember victims
Leaders of Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) along with representatives from All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU), All Sumi Students’ (SKK) and Ao Students’ Conference (AKM) held a solemn ceremony in Kohima to pay homage to the 14 people who were brutally massacred by the armed forces at Oting.
Sharing the pain and extending solidarity to family members of the victims, NSF president Kegwayhun Tep in his speech reaffirmed the non-cooperation of the federation towards the Indian armed and paramilitary forces across the Nagaland and lamented that justice was yet to be served.
On his party, NSF general secretary Süpüni Ng Philo asserted that the federation along with its federating units and subordinate bodies would continue to work towards ensuring that the draconian AFSPA was repealed from entire Naga homeland.
He declared that Naga people would overcome despite the “vicious policies” of the adversaries.
According to Philo, NSF’s flag would be flying at half-mast on December 4 and 5 in honour of the innocent lives lost on those fateful days last year.
Lotha Students’ Union, Naga Students’ Union, Chandel and Poumai Naga Tsüdoumai Me also organised candlelight services in honour of the 14 lost lives at their respective headquarters.
Konyak CSOs to organise remembrance programme
Meanwhile, KU, Konyak Nyupuh Sheko Khong (KNSK) and Konyak Students’ Union (KSU) would organise a solemn ceremony on Monday to pay homage to the 14 innocent civilians killed by the armed forces on December 4 and 5, 2021.
The event would be held at KU office, where short speeches would be delivered by presidents of KU, KNSK and KSU, after which executive secretary of Konyak Baptist Bumeinok Bangjum (KBBB) would pronounce a dedicatory prayer for the victim families. The organisers have appealed to all citizens to join the event.

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