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Nagaland Killings: Accused Can't be Eyewitnesses, Says Citizen Forum After Probe

Oting Citizen states that three 21 para commandos came to the area to aggravate emotions of grieving families.

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India
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After the Court of Inquiry, constituted by the Indian Army, reached ground zero to investigate the Mon incident on 29 December, the Oting Citizen – a forum of people in the Oting area – expressed their resentment against the presence of three 21 para commandos who were involved in the killings.

The statement by the Oting Citizen, dated 30 December, stated that the three 21 para commandos were brought to the area to 'aggravate the emotions of the grieving families,' and 'put salt to the wounds inflicted by them.'

The statement read, "despite the cruelsome incident still fresh in our mind, we cooperated and allowed the Inquiry team to visit the ground zero in good faith and with the expectation that the inquiry team with clear conscious and impartial mindset would study the surroundings/ environment and understand the circumstances and deliver justice by punishing those involved in the massacre of our 13 innocent villagers."

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The inquiry team headed by a senior rank officer – a Major General – inspected the site to understand the circumstances that led to the incident, the army said in a statement.

On 4 December, a vehicle carrying eight coal miners in Nagaland’s Oting village was ambushed by the Army’s elite 21 Para Special Forces, who were engaged in a counter-insurgency mission. Six people were gunned down. Their deaths were later regretted as a case of 'mistaken identity' by the army.

Regarding the Indian Army's statement which read, "the inquiry ordered by army is progressing expeditiously and all efforts are being made to conclude it at the earliest," the Oting Citizen said:

"Their statement and their action are contradictory. This is proven by the presence of those personnel in the inquiry team during their visit to ground zero. What kind of law allows an accused to be an eyewitness to a crime committed by him?"

A statement issued by the Indian Army added that the team had also visited the Tizit Police Station in Mon on Wednesday afternoon to meet a cross-section of people, including civilians, police personnel, and doctors who treated the injured, "for obtaining valuable information pertaining to the incident," EastMojo reported.

(With inputs from EastMojo)

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