Nagaland police files FIR against army soldiers for civilian deaths

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KOHIMA: Nagaland police has registered a case on its own against the 21st para special forces for killing 13 civilians suspecting them as militants at Tiru-Oting area of Mon district in Nagaland 48 hours ago.

The incident happened on December 4 afternoon when coal miners of Oting village were returning home from Tiru on a pickup truck, police stated.

“On reaching at Langkhao between Upper Tiru and Oting village, security forces fired at the vehicle without any provocation, resulting to the killing of many Oting villagers and seriously injured many others,” according to the first information report (FIR) lodged at Tizit police station.

At the time of the incident, there was no police guide for the security forces, nor did the security forces make any requisition to the police station to provide a guide for their operation, the FIR mentioned.

“Hence, it is obvious that the intention of the security forces is to murder and injure civilians,” the FIR said while registering a case for necessary action against the culprits.

The director general of police (DGP) of Nagaland and commissioner Nagaland, who visited the site of the firing on Sunday, have submitted a spot report on the sequence of events to the state government.

The Nagaland government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the firing. Home minister Amit Shah made statements in both houses of Parliament, saying that the army has regretted the incident, the FIR on the firing has been transferred to the state crime police station and will be investigated by a SIT, and that the Union government regrets the incident.

The incident happened when the army laid an ambush for insurgents on the basis of intelligence inputs, and when the vehicle with the workers neared the spot and was asked to stop, it tried to flee, resulting in the firing that killed six of the eight people in the vehicle, Shah said in the statement in Parliament.

Another seven civilians were killed when angry villages surrounded the army team, burnt two vehicles and assaulted them, resulting in the death of one soldier and forcing the team to fire at the crowd. The home minister termed the killing of the workers a case of mistaken identity.

The army has launched an investigation into the matter.

The security forces personnel tried to hide the dead bodies of the six villagers by wrapping and loading them in a pickup truck other than the one on which the villagers were travelling, according to the report by the DGP and the commissioner.

The report said on December 4 evening, eight villagers were returning home from coal mining work at Tiru in an open pickup truck, when they were killed by security forces (21 Para Special Force based in Assam).

Six of them were killed on the spot, leaving two critically injured. The incident happened some few kilometers away from Oting village.

“On hearing the gunshots, the villagers went to the spot being apprehensive that the individuals did not return home from work. On reaching the spot, they found the pickup truck and the Special Forces Personnel trying to hide the dead bodies of the six villagers by wrapping and loading them in another pickup truck (Tata Mobile) apparently with the intention of taking the dead bodies to their base camp,” the report added.

After seeing the dead bodies in the vehicle, the report said, violence broke out between the villagers and the security personnel where the irate villagers burnt three vehicles belonging to the security personnel.

“In the melee, the security personnel again opened fire against the villagers, which led to the death of 7 (seven) more villagers and eyewitnesses have confirmed that the Special Forces Personnel opened fire indiscriminately as they fled from the scene towards Assam side even firing on the coal mine hutments on the way,” the spot report said.

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