Nagaland Government & political parties’ apathy toward Oting victims continues

As expected, the Center has denied prosecuting the 30 soldiers allegedly involved in the execution of the Oting incident. But in what can be considered as a first reaction from the army, the Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen RP Kalita stated, “The Army is reviewing the implementation of the amended Standard Standard Operating Procedure for counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast.”



In solidarity with the victims of Oting incident, the Ao Students’ Conference (AKM) visited the village on March 02, 2022. (MTNews file photo)



But apart from that, every political party of Nagaland including the Civil Society Organizations in Nagaland maintained its deafening silence.


According to Indian Express, they reached out to several senior leaders of the ruling NDPP-BJP coalition government but ‘none officially commented’ while it was also made known that the state government ‘had not issued any directions to follow up with the Centre regarding the denial of prosecution sanction’.


In February, Keapwang Konyak, President of the Oting Students’ Union, told Mokokchung Times that since the Nagaland election process began, none of the candidates, regardless of political party, have raised the issue of the Oting incident and it remained to be seen even till date.


He also said that they were yet to hear about ‘Justice’ from the then ‘incumbent NDPP-BJP Rio led government’ and said that they “don’t expect justice anytime soon”.


Konyak also narrated how they have approached their MLA (Paiwang Konyak) in 2022 for the injured but are yet to receive any response.


“Last year, we wrote a representation to the DC through our MLA as well, but we have yet to receive a response,” he said.


It was also revealed that the victims’ families had only received the first installment of the ex—gratia, while government services were provided to the families of the deceased.


“We have about 13-14 people who have been injured; among those, 3-4 who have been seriously injured but the government is not taking any initiative to help them,” Konyak added.


However, Konyak stated that they have not given up on their pursuit of justice.


“Our voice may or may not be heard, but we will continue to fight for justice. Oting is a small village, but I will stand with the families of the victims and support the victims’ families,” he said.


When asked about the emotions in the village, he stated that there is “anger,” but they are trying to move forward. However, the faces of the victims’ families remind them of the injustice that has befallen them.


“I just want to appeal to the government to look into the injured people, particularly those who have been wounded so badly that they cannot continue to work anymore. Some have been the sole breadwinner, while others have been left with only their wife and children. So, looking into the situation, I appeal to the government to kindly look after them,” Konyak appealed.


It may be recalled that Home Minister Amit Shah visited Mon during the election stating that the centre is committed to the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) demands; however, the Home Minister failed to acknowledge the December 4 incident in Oting and meet the Oting victims’ families.


It is believed that the last time a political party raised an issue on Oting Incident was the National People’s Party (NPP), Nagaland State in June 2022 urging the Government to take necessary steps and prosecute Army personnel.


The Home Minister continues to state how extremists’ violence in the entire northeast region has gone down by 70 per cent, and how the Armed Forces (Special power) Act was withdrawn from 60 per cent areas of the northeast.


But as the Oting Village Chairman once told Mokokchung Times, “The irony is that the incident occurred in Oting. Because of the incident in this village, the demand for the repeal of AFSPA began. AFSPA was repealed elsewhere, but not here!”


Mokokchung Times

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