Indian forces carry out bloodshed in Nagaland killing over a dozen civilians

Villagers burn vehicles belonging to security personnel after civilians were killed at Oting village under Mon district of Nagaland on Saturday night. (Photo: PTI)
Indian forces carry out bloodshed in Nagaland killing over a dozen civilians

ISLAMABAD, Dec 5 (APP): As the Narendra Modi government continues to vigorously pursuing Hindutva agenda by targeting non-Hindu communities, the Indian forces Saturday carried bloodshed in the Christian majority Nagaland state killing over a dozen civilians.

The incident took place in and around Oting village in Mon district, bordering Myanmar, during a counterinsurgency operation conducted by members of the Assam Rifles, a part of Indian security forces deployment in the state, according to a senior police official.

The army soldiers fired at a truck killing six coal miners who were returning from home.

Local sources said that volunteers from the village had gone searching for them as they had not returned for several hours and found their bodies in the van.

As villagers reacted by burning two army vehicles, the soldiers fired at them, killing nine more people, according to media reports.

Nagaland police officer Sandeep M Tamgadge told AFP that the situation in the district was “very tense right now”, with nine other civilians wounded in the second incident now being treated in local hospitals.

After killing the innocent people and witnessing harsh public reaction, the Indian authorities are trying to cover up the incident calling it as a result of mistaken identity.

Nyamtow Konyak, a local community leader, said those killed were coalminers returning home from work.

The army officer said the soldiers had laid an ambush for a week following intelligence that insurgents were planning to attack soldiers in the area, 250 miles (400km) east of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also attacked the Centre over the killing of civilians in Mon district of Nagaland, saying the government must give a “real reply” as to what is the home ministry doing when “neither civilians nor security personnel are safe in our own land”.

PTI cited a local police official in Nagaland as saying 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 the neighbouring state of Assam.

A statement issued by the headquarters of the army’s 3 Corps said several of its personnel have suffered severe injuries in the incident and one soldier succumbed to the injuries.

“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. 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,” the statement said, according to PTI.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio condemned the incident and promised a high-level probe as he appealed to all sections of the society to maintain peace.

“The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured,” the chief minister tweeted.

Locals in Nagaland have frequently accused forces of wrongly targeting innocent locals in their counterinsurgency operations against rebel groups.

In recent years India has tried to persuade Myanmar to evict rebels from bases in the thick jungles of the region, which borders Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

Nagaland MLA TR Zeliang condemned the incident and said “there is no excuse for such massacre”. He called for the formation of an enquiry commission headed by a retired judge.

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.

Reacting to the incident, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) announced the withdrawal of six tribes it represents from the annual Hornbill Festival ongoing at Kisama near State capital Kohima.

The ENPO had a few months ago adopted a resolution against bloodshed in its area.

“How can we dance at the festival when our people are getting killed?” the ENPO said in a statement.

APP Digital Report by Ishtiaq Ahmed