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Atmosphere of fear among rural folk as Assam Rifles 'occupies' Manipur Naga villages

Protest in Ukhrul town
By Our Representative 
A civil rights group, Forum Against Corporatization And Militarization (FACAM), taking strong exception to the Assam Rifles of the Indian Armed Forces "moving in and capturing nine Naga villages of Ukhrul district of Manipur", has said the action is not backed by the Indian state giving "any explanation."
Calling it 'intrusion and occupation", FACAM said in a media communique, apparently, this has been done "without the consent of the Naga village councils and the Tangkhul indigenous people, to whom the land belongs."
It alleged, "The Indian state has been mocking its own Constitution by constantly violating Article 371 (A) of the Constitution through such intrusions, land grab, and atrocities of the past and the present and granting them impunity under draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)."
Recalling a 2021 incident, it added, "One such recent example of genocidal military action is massacres in Mon and Oting where 14 people, mostly innocent mine workers, were massacred by Para SF of the Indian Armed Forces and are still not prosecuted due to the impunity of AFSPA."
Stating that the Naga Civil Society and the Global Naga Forum have reported about the situation through statements and media reports that the Armed Forces are occupying the public spaces such as schools, playgrounds, community centers etc, and are turning them into military camps, FACAM noted, "Private properties are taken over and constructions are carried on them to build military camps."
Based in Delhi, FACAM added, "A widespread atmosphere of fear among women, children and old due to such presence of Armed Forces, having past record of brutal atrocities against the very people, and building check-posts across the area, is affecting the peace of the people."
Protesting against the move, on 15 September 2022, claimed FACAM, "Over 5,000 people took to the streets of Ukhrul town to mount pressure on the Central and State governments for immediate withdrawal of the security forces from nine Tangkhul villages where the troops have set up military camps/bases without the consent of the villagers."
Noting that "similarly, the people of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have protested against paramilitary camps, with 12 major sit in protests in Bastar, continuing for months", it said, "The Indian state has moved with the idea to establish a Joint Command Centre in Bhadradri Kothagudem district on Telangana-Chhattisgarh border in the name of fighting the Maoists."
According to FACAM, "The said command centre is to house the District Reserve Guard (DRG) formed by inducting the infamous SPOs of the Salwa Judum, Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of Chhattisgarh, Greyhounds of Telangana etc."
There is parallel between camps being built in forested Central Indian regions and the ones being built in Ukhrul, Manipur
Also, it said, the Union Home Ministry has sent "a contingent of 100 National Security Guards (Elite Force) comprising of more than 50 percent personnel of the Indian Armed Forces on trial basis to same district and are believed to function from this very joint command centre."
FACAM further said, "The camps, in these forested regions of Central India, are being built as forward operational bases under the Indian state’s Operation Samadhan-Prahar to suppress all forms of struggle against corporate loot of resources."
"Similarly", it added, "camps are being built Manipur, Kashmir, Nagaland etc., to suppress the struggle of nationalities for right to self determination and to loot their natural resources in the interest of big corporates."
Insisting that there is "parallel between the camps being built in forested Central Indian regions and the ones being built in Ukhrul, Manipur", FACAM said, "We see that the camps being established in schools and community centres in Ukhrul are similar with those being established in schools of Giridih district of Jharkhand."
"The similarity behind the modus operandi of the Armed Forces and paramilitary forces in occupying land and building multiple paramilitary camps over a given area reflects a similar military psyche behind these activities", it added.
Underlining that Operation Samadhan-Prahar is the embodiment of this military psyche and it needs to be resisted countrywide to stop this rampant militarization, FACAM demanded withdrawal of the Assam Rifles from the nine Naga villages, disbanding of the Joint Command Centre to be built in Bhadradri Kothagudem district, stop engaging elite special forces and Operation Samadhan-Prahar, and repeal of AFSPA.

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