NAGALAND, INDIA, Dec 5 (Asia Free Press): At least 13 persons were killed during a counter-insurgency operation in Nagaland, a restive state in north-eastern India.
On Saturday evening, Indian armed forces killed 12 civilians in the Tiru region of Nagaland’s Mon district during an “anti-insurgency operation,” following which villagers killed one member of the armed forces and injured two more.
The army team opened fire on a group of men returning from work in a coal mine, suspecting them to be insurgents. According to local media reports, one tribe elder said that “all of them were innocent civilians.”
According to him, angry local residents who had gone in search of the workers and discovered their bodies attacked and set fire to the army team’s trucks. One soldier was killed and several others were injured in the attack by villagers.
According to a statement issued by the army’s 3 Corps headquarters in Kohima, a “specific operation” was launched in Tiru area based on “credible” intelligence about likely movement of insurgents.
“The incident and its aftermath is 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,” said the statement. “The security forces have suffered severe injuries in the incident including one soldier who succumbed to the injuries,” the army said in its statement.
Condeming the incident, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted on Sunday morning, “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.”
India’s Home minister Amit Shah also condemned the incident and said a high level Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be set up by Nagaland government for justice to the families of those killed in 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 tweeted.
Mon shares a border with Myanmar and is known to be a transit point for Northeast insurgents seeking refuge in the neighbouring country. The incident occurred during the annual Hornbill Festival at Kisama cultural hamlet, roughly 12 kilometres from the state capital Kohima.