New Delhi, December 5
A group of civilians travelling in a mini truck were allegedly killed by security forces on Saturday night near Mon in Nagaland.
The number of civilians killed remains unclear. Initial numbers said six, but a PTI that quoted police put that number as 11.
A police officer said that the exact number of fatalities is yet to be ascertained as 11 people died on the spot, and several others succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in neighbouring Assam.
The incident took place between Oting and Tiru villages when some daily-wage labourers were returning home in a pick-up van from a coal mine on Saturday evening, the police officer said.
The vehicle was allegedly fired upon by Army personnel, who were conducting an operation in the area after receiving inputs on the movement of militants of Yung Aung faction of proscribed outfit NSCN (K…
Police said in its report, was investigating whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
Mon shares a porous international border with Myanmar, where the Yung Aung faction of NSCN (K) is based.
The situation is under control and police are conducting spot verification, he said.
Security forces meanwhile said it was a case of mistaken identity as the forces were sitting in an ambush when the truck arrived on the scene. Either the truck was caught in the crossfire between forces and insurgents or the truck was mistaken to be the vehicle carrying the insurgents, sources said. Both angles are being investigated.
The Indian Army and the Assam Rifles have said one jawan has been killed in the incident and some others are injured.
The Army and Assam Rifles said there was 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 (sic) deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” a statement said.
Separately, the Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio has on Sunday morning announced a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) would investigate the incident.
“High level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land”, Rio said and termed the incident “unfortunate and condemnable”.
Protests erupted in Nagaland over the killing, prompting the chief minister to appeal for calm.
Union Home Minister also tweeted about the incident.
“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,” Shah’s tweet said.