Nagaland: Violence after Indian forces “mistakenly” kill civilians

Nagaland: Violence after Indian forces “mistakenly” kill civilians

Guwahati, India – A protester was killed in the Mon district of Nagaland state after Indian security forces shot at people protesting the killing of 13 civilians a day earlier in the northeastern state.
Further violence erupted on Sunday after large crowds marched to a security forces camp in Mon town and started damaging and burning buildings, a state government official said. .

Killings of civilians allegedly committed by security forces in what officials described as a “botched” operation sparked widespread outrage in Nagaland, which has witnessed decades of armed rebellion against Indian rule. The region has been relatively calm in recent years, as armed groups have entered into negotiations with the Indian government.

“People are very angry,” said Honang Konyak, vice president of the Konyak Union, the supreme organ of the Konyak tribe that dominates Mon district on the Indo-Myanmar border.

“The security forces, who were supposed to be guards, killed innocent people,” he said.

They were shooting us happily

Nyawang Konyak, the district chairperson of the BJP,

At least six people were killed after security forces shot a truck carrying coal mine workers, who were mistaken for “militants.” Seven other civilians were killed after clashes between local residents and security forces on Saturday evening.

The Nagaland government dispatched senior police and government officials and implemented restraining orders in Mon town. Previously, he had banned mobile internet and SMS services throughout the district, citing “apprehension of serious public order issues”.

The ban was lifted on Sunday evening, but Sandeep M Tamgadge, the additional director general of Nagaland Police, confirmed the situation remained tense.

Ordered investigation

A special investigation team consisting of five police officers was formed under the supervision of Tamgadge. “He was instructed to investigate the case within a month,” said.

The Indian Army Spear Corps has said it regrets the incident and its aftermath.

“The cause of the unfortunate loss of human life is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate measures will be taken in accordance with the law,” the statement said.

An Indian Army soldier stands in front of a guard room at a military camp in Jakhama, a suburb of Kohima, northeastern Nagaland state, India on Sunday, December 5, 2021 [Yirmiyan Arthur/AP Photo]

At least one soldier was killed in the incident, according to the Spear Corps statement. 11 other civilians were injured in the incident, Indian authorities said.

“Four of the wounded were evacuated to Dimapur (the capital of Nagaland). Five of them are in the civilian hospital in Mon while two are being treated in Dibrugarh (in neighboring Assam), ”said Abhijeet Sinha, Minister of the Interior of Nagaland.

According to local accounts, the incident occurred on Saturday evening when security forces reportedly opened fire on a van carrying workers returning to Oting from the Lower Tiru coal mines, less than 10 kilometers away (6, 2 miles).

Mon district lies on the road frequented by various rebel groups operating in the area, according to police officials.

“Based on credible intelligence on the likely movements of the insurgents, a specific operation was planned in the Tiru region,” Spear Corps said.

“It’s a total intelligence failure,” said Honang Konyak, vice president of the Konyak Union.

According to a senior Nagaland government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, state officials were not aware of the contributions.

“We had no information about their movement (of the security forces),” the official said. “We don’t yet know how they mistook daily betting for insurgents. “

“They opened fire on us”

Kheatwang Konyak, a resident of Oting, said people heard gunshots. “A few hours later, when the boys didn’t come home, we started looking for them,” he told Al Jazeera.

Not far from the village, residents claim to have found the bodies in a van belonging to the security forces. “Army personnel were about to take them away,” Kheatwang Konyak said.

While emotions were running high, a crowd of people set three vehicles on fire. Residents allege that security force personnel opened fire again amid the clashes.

“I had a party flag on my vehicle, even then they opened fire on us,” said Nyawang Konyak, district chairman of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is part of the government alliance in Nagaland. Nyawang told Al Jazeera he ran for his life, but three other people in his vehicle were shot dead.

“My driver and my nephew were shot in the leg,” he said.

“They were happily shooting at us,” Nyawang said, adding that another person in his vehicle succumbed to his injuries. “God saved my life.

Al Jazeera has not been able to independently verify these claims, which have yet to be corroborated by Indian authorities.

“Intelligence failure”

Reports in Indian media citing sources within the security forces said they anticipated the move by the Yung Aung faction of the Nagaland National Socialist Council (NSCN), a banned organization that operates from neighboring Myanmar.

Other factions of the NSCN are currently in talks with the government for a solution to the Naga issue which has fueled rebellion in the region for decades.

The Naga groups are calling for sovereignty and more autonomy. While most groups appeared to push for a quick fix, one faction of the NSCN stuck to its demand for shared sovereignty with a separate flag and constitution. This faction signed a ceasefire agreement in 1997.

Nagaland politicians fear the attack could hamper the pursuit of peace talks between the Naga armed groups and the government.

“As the Indo-Naga issue draws to a close, such a haphazard and despicable act of the security forces is unimaginable and unfathomable,” a statement from the ruling Democratic Nationalist Progressive Party said.

The party demanded that the state government address the issue of repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, a law which rights groups say grants impunity to the forces. security forces operating in the region.

In 2017, the Supreme Court ordered an investigation into 1,528 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings committed between 2000 and 2012 by security forces and police in neighboring Manipur, another AFSPA state.

Temjen Imna Along, minister of the state government and head of the Nagaland unit of the BJP attacked the security forces even as he said the incident “amounted to war crimes in times of war. peace and summary execution as well as genocide ”.

In a statement shared on his Facebook page, Along said that, with the peace process at a threshold of settlement, “it is time to exercise extreme caution and patience.”

Meanwhile, candlelight vigils were held at several locations across the state. The incident affected celebrations for the Hornbill Festival, an annual event that showcases Naga culture as several tribes announced they were suspending their participation following the deadly incident.


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