North East

Need to build ‘consensus’ to fight AFSPA: AJP chief

New Delhi, Dec 30 (UNI): The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) president, Lurinjyoti Gogoi, on Thursday called for a consensus in the northeastern region to unitedly fight for the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

“AFSPA is an injustice to the indigenous people of the Northeast. As a regional party, I took up the issue with NPP and TIPRA to build a consensus to fight against it unitedly for its repeal,” Gogoi said in a interview.

Gogoi held discussions with the National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya and other states as well as the Twipra Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) in Tripura.

“In Assam also we will contact small parties, besides student organisations so that we can take this fight forward,” he added.

On AFSPA’s extension in Nagaland for another six months, Gogoi, a former General Secretary of the All Assam Students Union (AASU), said, “This is not acceptable. It should be withdrawn immediately.”

The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday declared Nagaland a “disturbed area” for six more months with effect from December 30 and extended the controversial AFSPA, which has come under widespread criticism in the northeast for giving sweeping powers to security forces.

On the Committee formed by the Centre to look into the withdrawal of AFSPA in the wake of the December 4 firing in Nagaland’s Mon district, Gogoi said: “Irom Sharmila had protested for long years in Manipur to repeal the AFSPA. Delhi never listens to our voice.”

Citing the three farm laws, he said the Centre repealed them because it had a ‘political value’ as people from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh participated in the protests and Assembly elections were due in both states.

Demand for axing the AFSPA resurfaced in the Northeast after the Nagaland killings.

NPP chief and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma along with his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio were the first to raise the demand to end AFSPA.

Asked about upcoming civic body polls in Assam, the AJP chief said, “We have already started our preparation. We will contest the maximum seats. Our main aim is to defeat the BJP-led alliance.”

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