Nagaland Current Affairs - 2019

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Nagaland observes 75th anniversary of Battle of Kohima

Nagaland observed the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Kohima. The event was attended by the representatives from the UK and Japan who spoke on the theme of ‘Remembrance, Reconciliation and Rebirth’.

The dignitaries from the UK and Japan sought reconciliation and forgiveness for the sufferings and pain caused against each other at the Battle of Kohima, that was fought in three stages during the Second World War in 1944.

Battle of Kohima

Battle of Kohima is considered as the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive, or Operation C mission launched in India in 1944 during the Second World War. The Battle of Kohima was fought in three stages from 3 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima in Nagaland in northeast India:

  • From 3 to 16 April, the Japanese attempted to capture Kohima ridge, a feature which dominated the road by which the besieged British and Indian troops of IV Corps at Imphal were supplied. By mid-April, the small British and Indian force at Kohima was relieved.
  • From 18 April to 13 May, British and Indian reinforcements counter-attacked to drive the Japanese from the positions they had captured. The Japanese abandoned the ridge at this point but continued to block the Kohima–Imphal road.
  • From 16 May to 22 June, the British and Indian troops pursued the retreating Japanese and reopened the road. The battle ended on 22 June when British and Indian troops from Kohima and Imphal met at Milestone 109, ending the Siege of Imphal.

The battle is often referred to as the “Stalingrad of the East”. Kohima was the theatre of the War in 1944 and the Nagas were drawn into it on both sides some with the British and some with the Japanese.

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AFSPA withdrawn partially from Arunachal Pradesh

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar.

The State of Arunachal Pradesh had inherited AFSPA since the day of its formation. AFSPA enacted by Parliament in 1958 and was applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well.

Controversial Provisions of AFSPA

  • Section 4 of the AFSPA empowers an authorised officer in a disturbed area with certain powers. The authorised officer has the power to open fire at any individual even if it results in death if the individual violates laws which prohibit (a) the assembly of five or more persons; or (b) carrying of weapons. However, the officer has to give a warning before opening fire.
  • The authorised officer is also empowered to (a) arrest without a warrant; and (b) seize and search without any warrant any premise in order to make an arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition.
  • AFSPA mentions that individuals who have been taken into custody have to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible. There is no prescribed time limit for detention.
  • Prosecution of an authorised officer requires prior permission of the Central government.

Observations made by Various Committees

Justice Santosh Hegde Committee found four out of six deaths it was inquiring in Manipur have similar patterns of cause of death and could be cases of fake encounters.

Justice Santosh Hegde Committee report also concluded that AFSPA has not been able to achieve peace in the Northeast, and on the contrary, it has widened the distance between the people of these areas and the mainland.

J.S. Verma Committee (2012) and the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005) have found the law arbitrary and have recommended the repeal of AFSPA.

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