FNR on Oting killings and justice proving to be elusive says, ‘The Truth Alone Must Triumph’

Dimapur: With regard to the December 4 and 5 killings of Oting village and Mon in Nagaland last year, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) insisted that the government deliver justice at the earliest. The FNR also said that “there must be no miscarriage of justice, and truth must be told for justice to be delivered”.

“Widespread public denunciation ensued after 14 innocent civilians were killed and many civilians injured by India’s military forces at Oting and Mon on December 4 and 5, 2021,” said the FNR in a statement. It further said that the killings blatantly violated the sanctity of life, breached public trust, and shattered the peaceful atmosphere.

The FNR then said that the seriousness of the political violence compelled the Government of Nagaland to issue an order on December 5, 2021 constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to “facilitate free and fair investigations” into the case. According to the terms of reference, the SIT investigation was to be completed within one month from the date of registration, the statement added.

According to the FNR, given the heinous nature and implications of the killings, and the public’s response through nonviolent protests for justice, the Government of Nagaland was expected to handle the case without delay and political courage to facilitate justice.

“Regrettably, after 5 months since the SIT investigation was initiated, the Government has made no official statement about the status of the SIT investigation or its report,” the FNR said. It further said that various political leaders have commented that the delay was due to the awaited forensic reports. “The Government of Nagaland’s handling of the investigation is disingenuous, and lacks political sincerity and integrity. This inaction has further traumatized the affected family members, community and deepens the people’s distrust,” the FNR further added.

The FNR then affirmed that there must be no miscarriage of justice, and truth must be told for justice to be delivered. The forum also said that investigation and its findings are a matter of public interest and in order for justice to prevail, the SIT report must be made public as a gesture of transparency and accountability to the affected families and community. “Also, it needs to reveal the perpetrators’ role in the system of violence sustained with impunity through acts such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA),” it added.

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Standing firmly in solidarity with the Konyak people through the Konyak Union (KU) and Konyak civil societies, the FNR insisted that the Government of Nagaland act immediately upon the SIT report it has already received. Furthermore, the FNR said that the government must fast track the delivery of justice as demanded by the people and as assured by the IGAR (North), Major General Vikas Lakhera, on February 7, 2022 at the Conference Hall of DC Mon.

The FNR then said it supported the Konyak civil society’s decision to pursue this. “Justice will be served after all military personnel involved in the killing of 14 innocent civilians are identified, tried in a court of law, and punished according to the rule of law. In addition, action taken must be put out in public domain and AFSPA must be decisively repealed,” the FNR also stated.

By reiterating its position taken to demand justice, fully supported by the Naga public and wider public beyond, the Konyak Union has modeled integrity and made an opening for policy strategists in a manner befitting to be straightforward in upholding India’s respected legacy in matters of moral, ethical values of human affairs, said the FNR. “The Government of India must not treat lightly its official emblem inherited from Emperor Ashoka – SATYAMEVA JAYATE (Truth Alone Triumphs),” the FNR statement also added.

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