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"Government of India expresses regrets over the incident and condolences to those killed... a SIT has been formed and has been directed to complete investigation in a month. Situation is tense but under control. All agencies have to ensure such incidents do not happen in future," Amit Shah told the Lok Sabha.
An hour later he read out a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha as opposition MPs screamed "nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi"(this won't do, this won't do). "The centre has examined the situation and reached the conclusion the incidents such as this - where innocent villagers were killed - shouldn't be repeated," Mr Shah said.
As he spoke (and as their Lower House colleagues had done), opposition Rajya Sabha MPs kept up a steady din demanding a debate on AFSPA and the Nagaland violence. They also protested the suspension of 12 of their colleagues for the winter session.
In the Lok Sabha, after Amit Shah made his statement, opposition MPs protested his perfunctory speech and reiterated demands for a discussion, as well as repeal of the contentious AFSPA. In protest, MPs from the Congress, the DMK, the Samajwadi Party, the BSP, and the NCP walked out.
Amit Shah did not clarify if the centre planned to give permission to prosecute those members of the armed forces - protected under AFSPA - involved in the killings.
This morning the Prime Minister met with senior members of his cabinet, including Mr Shah, to discuss the situation and the centre's response. The centre has been attacked over the civilians' deaths amid strong demands, including by the Nagaland and Meghalaya chief ministers that AFSPA be repealed.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, whose NDPP is an ally of the BJP, slammed the centre for extending AFSPA. "Nagaland and Naga people have always opposed AFSPA. It should be repealed," Mr Rio said, adding, "This draconian law needs to go... there are laws to take care of the situation... but this law is hitting the image of our country."
Opposition to AFSPA and the civilians' deaths also came from Assam, where too the law is in force. Veteran CPI(M) leader Hemen Das called it "state terrorism". Assam Jatiya Parishad General Secretary Jagadish Bhuyan said: "GoI should SCRAP AFSPA and allow NE people to live as dignified citizens of the country..."
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, has been in force in Nagaland and parts of the northeast for several decades. Under this legislation, security forces can conduct operations anywhere where the law is in effect and arrest without prior warrants.
14 villagers and a soldier died in Nagaland's Mon district over the weekend after an Army op went horribly wrong. A police FIR has said the Army's 21 Para Special Forces "blankly opened fire". The Army yesterday expressed deep regret for the "unfortunate loss of lives" and said the matter would be investigated at the "highest level".
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