December 8, 2021 - 11:32 am

Nagaland Civilian Killings

    Tension gripped Nagaland on Sunday as at least 15 civilians were killed in a case of "mistaken identity" what are counter-insurgency operation went amiss in Tiru village of Mon district, prompting the state government and the army to order a probe into the incident. AJawan was also killed in the incident.

     The special forces of the Indian Army were set for a counter-insurgency operation in the Mon district that borders Myanmar, following a tip-off about a possible movement of insurgents; they had laid an ambush near Oting village on Saturday afternoon. But they opened fire on a truck on the Tiru-Oting road which was carrying villagers. Six villagers died when the forces opened fire, two died later while being taken to the hospital. Soon after, angry local surrounded the security forces, five villagers were killed and six injured as the forces opened fire at the mob in "self-defense". A soldier died and three vehicles of the security forces were also set on fire. In the evening, the situation turned tense in Mon town as angry protesters surrounded the Assam rifles camp. They broke into the camp and tried to set fire to a portion of it. A man died in the violence.

    Soon after the violence in Mon, section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in the district to prevent gatherings and restricting the movement of vehicles barring those carrying essential items from Sunday. The state government also suspended mobile internet and the data services and bulk SMS in the entire Mon district.

    This incident is likely to have an impact on an already tottering Naga peace process. The key group negotiating with the centre, National Socialist Council of Nagalim [(NSCN(I-M)], has declared it a "black day" for all Nagas and termed the incident "unprecedented in recent history", of the Naga National Political Group (NNPG) has blaimed the continued implementations of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 for such incidents.

    Local organisations have demanded action against the guilty personnel and threatened to approach national and international human rights organisations. Members of the victims' families refused to receive their bodies if justice is not delivered fast. The Centre would have to assuage public anger arising out of the Saturday's killing through an impartial and quick probe, followed by action on those responsible.