The killings of at least 14 civilians and one soldier in Nagaland has caused much outrage across the nation. While the issue will be discussed in Parliament, an FIR has been registered in the case.
The police have filed a case of murder against the 21 Para Special forces of the army for the incident that took place on 4 December. The Mon district police said in its FIR that the army fired with an “intention to murder”.
The Mon district is dominated by the Konyak Hoho tribes and the villagers killed in the incident belonged to the community.
What exactly happened?
The security forces opened fire on a truck on the Tiru-Oting road of the Mon town on Nagaland that was carrying villagers and mine workers. NDTV reported that this was after a tip-off about a possible movement of insurgents. Six villagers were killed in the incident. All of them were mine workers returning home.
This led to angry locals protesting the killings after which the security forces opened fire and killed six more villagers. A soldier also died in the incident.
Another civilian from the Konyak tribe was killed on Sunday as security forces tried to control an angry mob at the Assam Rifles camp in the region, reported the Times of India.
While the army had said that the firings during the protests were made in “self-defence”, the army has now issued a statement expressing regret about the incident. The army was quoted by NDTV as saying, “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 are deeply regretted.”
What has the government said?
Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday expressed anguish on the killings. In a tweet, Shah said, “Anguished over an unfortunate incident in Nagaland’s Oting, Mon. I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. A high-level SIT constituted by the State govt will thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families.”
Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphu Rio also conveyed his condolences to the families of those who were killed.
“The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured. High-level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections,” he said.
The Nagaland state government on Monday said that an exgratia of ₹5 lakh will be given each to the families of those killed in the firing. Chief Minister Rio is also expected to visit the region. Rio was in Delhi at the time of the incident.
“The State Government has condemned the incident in Oting village area of Mon district that resulted in the death of 13 civilians,” PTI quoted Nagaland Chief Secretary J Alam as saying.
Who are the Konyak tribe?
The Konkyaks are one of the major ethnic groups of Nagaland who reside mostly in the Mon district where the incident took place. Roughly they are a population of over 3 lakhs and are also live in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Myanmar.
This ethnic tribe is mostly found in the Tirap, Longding, and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the Sibsagar district of Assam.
Members of the tribe have called the incident a failure of the system. Speaking to East Mojo, journalist Sarah Konyak said, “The incident is highly condemnable, unfortunate and uncalled. It is a violation of Human rights. Thirteen innocent civilians were massacred in broad daylight. I am surprised that such well-trained army personnel have failed to differentiate between militants and civilians.”