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Freedom Rally against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination held

Freedom rally at kohima

Our Correspondent
KOHIMA, JANUARY 23: “Do not make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory because even though we are not vaccinated we have been blessed with an immunity system by God and we are under his protection”, stated Reverend Azahto Kiba, Pastor at New Life Church, Kohima, at the world wide “Freedom Rally” against compulsory vaccination of citizens at Old MLA Junction, Kohima, on Sunday.
He said that while the two public rallies against the compulsory vaccination policy of the State Government back in 2021 were under the banner of Awaken India Movement (AIM), this year’s rally was organized by The Watchman in collaboration with AIM.
He informed that The Watchman, formed in December, is a body of a like-minded body of Christ who are fighting for the rights of the discriminated people.
Kiba also claimed that he had never contracted the virus even though he had been inside ICUs and emergency rooms meeting more than a hundred people who are said to be COVID-19 positive.
“Whereas, there have been cases of bureaucrats and politicians succumbing to the virus even though they have been vaccinated. On top of this people are still alive even though they are not wearing masks nor are they vaccinated”, he said.
“We are only asking the Government to respect our constitutional rights because even the Central Government has recently informed the Supreme Court of India that COVID-19 vaccination guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) do not envisage vaccination on individuals, without obtaining their consent/will”, he added.
It is also worrying that the COVID-19 SOPs in India are being strictly enforced in Christian dominant States as compared to Hindu and Muslim dominated places, he said.
Pointing out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been changing their statement time and again regarding SOPs, best COVID-19 practices and efficacy of the vaccines, Kiba stated that it has become a “Pandemic of Confusion.”
State Coordinator, Human Rights Law Network, Advocate Neiteo Koza, in an address to the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio said, “You swore to abide by the Constitution the moment you came into power but the very mandate you are making on the vaccination policy is violating the rights of the people.”
The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare had never said anything about making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory, she said.
People vaccinating out of their own accord is alright because it is their individual choice but many people have reported to have taken the vaccine out of compulsion because the warning against not doing so was non-payment of salary and more stricter travel restrictions, she said.
Whereas even though the State Government through a notification on September 30, 2021, has said that unvaccinated people won’t be able to attend social gathering, sporting events and church services. However, the Government has further tightened its restrictions through a notification on January 8, 2022, where it was stated that unless a person had received the second dose, s/he cannot go to shops, malls, attend church services or any kind of social gathering. This itself is a violation of our fundamental rights and the prevailing restrictions on attending social events are unconstitutional, she said.
Koza also highlighted that The Watchman had been receiving several complaints from several students who were made to stay at home because they are not vaccinated and they don’t want to get vaccinated. The students are robbed of their future due to this policy of the State Government, she said.
She also said that our State doesn’t have any policy making mechanisms that’s supposed to deal with the adverse effects of immunization or to conduct a clinical study on its efficacy.
She urged the Chief Minister to remove the current mandate of the State on COVID-19 vaccination. “Since it was the people who voted you to power, the onus is on you to make the right decision because even the Central Government has said that Covid-19 vaccination is not mandatory”, she added.
Rising People’s Party (Treasurer), Vitho Zao said that since it was the vote of the people that elected those at the helm of affairs in the State, it is the liberty of the people to ask why the State Government is so eager to vaccinate the people without actually knowing the efficacy of the vaccines.
The Government of India filed an affidavit at the Supreme Court of India stating that COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory, he said. As far as the Indian States are concerned, certain provisions are being provided for to the State Government to rules and regulations it deems fit to combat the pandemic and it is the politicians who are imposing such mandates on the public without actually knowing the efficacy of the virus, he said.
“If we keep quiet, they’ll keep on bringing different vaccines so the public have to stand for their rights”, Zao stated.
NSF President, Kegwayhun Tep said that the mandatory vaccination imposed by the State Government particularly to the student community in order to attend physical classes is not acceptable. Of late, the concerned Department has requested the student community to avail the first dose of vaccination if they want to attend physical classes. “I think this is discriminatory by nature”, he said.
Tep said that accepting a vaccine should be done on the basis of free will and appealed to the student community that those in favour of getting vaccinated should go ahead but it should not be under compulsion.
Reverend Kevisede Kire, Soul Harvest Church, Kohima and Pastor Khi Peter of Nagamese Baptist Church, Kohima also spoke against the forcible vaccination policy of the State Government.