Nagaland Ambush: Murder FIR Against Army Unit, Govt Constitutes SIT

At least 13 villagers lost their lives while travelling to Oting after a counter-insurgency operation went awry.

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Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

The Nagaland police on Sunday, 5 December, filed a suo motu FIR against 21 paramilitary forces over the killing of 13 villagers in a counter-insurgency operation that went awry.

In the FIR, accessed by The Quint, the Nagaland police said that the forces "blankly opend fire (sic)" and that the intention was to "murder and injure civilians."

"On reaching at Longkhao between Upper Tiru and Oting village, security forces blankly opend fire at the vehicle without any provocation resulting to the killing of many Oting villagers and seriously injured many others (sic)," the FIR stated.

"It is to be noted that at the time of the incident there was no police guide nor security forces did make requidition to police forces to provide police guide for their operation. Hence it is obvious that the intention of security forces is to murder and injure civilians (sic)," it added.

The Nagaland government also constituted a five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident within a month.

In the aftermath of the attack, a new spell of violence broke out on Sunday, after hundreds of civilians vandalised an Assam Rifles camp in Mon district. One protesting citizen died as a result.

Consequently, Nagaland administration implemented prohibitory orders, with Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) being imposed in Mon town in light of the tensions.

The government also reportedly banned mobile internet and SMS services in the entire district.


'Forces Were Trying to Hide Bodies': More About the Attack

After hearing gunshots, several villagers arrived at the spot to find armed forces personnel allegedly trying to hide the bodies by wrapping up and loading them in another truck.

A statement by DG Nagaland said that on finding the stashed bodies in a Tata mobile, a violent confrontation between the armed personnel and villagers led to the death of seven more villagers.

In a statement, the army said: "Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon District, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted."

However, mistaking villagers to be insurgents, the forces fired in broad daylight, killing 13. The villagers were unarmed coal miners returning home from Tiru.

Six died on the spot and two were critically injured.

As per eyewitnesses, the army personnel had opened fire indiscriminately as the villagers attempted to flee.

Several police vehicles were set ablaze in the clash, and one jawan died amidst the operation. Fourteen other civilians were found to be seriously injured.


Deceased Laid to Rest, Ex Gratia Announced

The funeral services for those killed in the firing incident were held at the helipad ground in Nagaland’s Mon district on Monday, in the presence of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton, and Naga People’s Front (NPF) leader Taditui Rangkau Zeliang.

The state government announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to be paid to the kin of the deceased.

  • Funeral service of the 13 deceased villagers in Nagaland.

    (Photo: The Quint)


Naga Students' Federation Calls for Six-Hour Bandh

Meanwhile, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) called for a six-hour total shutdown across regions inhabited by Nagas in light of the killings. The shutdown was in effect from 6 am to 12 noon on Monday.

Led by President Kegwayhun Tep and General Secretary Süpuni N Philo, the federation also called for a halt in all merrymaking for the following five days. The NSF also urged citizens to refrain from participating in the Hornbill festival.

"The indiscriminate firing by security forces upon the peaceful civilians is not unprecedented in the Naga homeland as the GOI has been trying to suppress the legitimate people’s movement through military means even after realizing that the same will not reap in the desired dividend."
Naga Students’ Federation statement

Further, the federation appealed to the authorities in the matter, asking them to:

  • Establish a court-monitored committee into the attack

  • Revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from all Naga-inhabited areas, which they termed a "psychological warfare" against the Naga people

  • Convene a special assembly of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly

  • Announce a befitting compensation to all affected by the ambush

The Naga Mothers' Association also expressed its profound grief and condemnation of the "heinous attack," adding that it demands the state to "take cognisance of repeated violations of human rights under AFSPA."

They also appealed for a high-level inquiry commission to probe the incident.

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Topics:  Assam   BJP Government   Assam Rifles 

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