Nagaland: Dozen civilians, jawan killed as security operation goes wrong
The Indian Army said it "deeply regretted" the killings of civilians in Nagaland due to mistaken identity during a security operation gone wrong. The incident occurred in the Mon district Saturday evening. Reportedly, 13 civilians were killed along with one security personnel as the locals retaliated. The state has appointed a Special Investigation Team to probe the case, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said.
Why does it matter?
- The Mon incident has been criticized for its disturbing nature and alleged incompetence of security forces.
- Reportedly, the civilians killed were daily-wage laborers who were mistaken to be insurgents.
- Mon shares a porous border with Myanmar.
- It is reportedly a stronghold for the insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
What happened in Mon yesterday?
The incident occurred as the laborers were returning from a coal mine in a pick-up truck on Saturday, multiple reports said. Security forces ambushed the truck between Oting and Tiru villages, mistaking the group to be insurgents. The forces had been tipped-off about the activity of the Yung Aung faction of the NSCN-K in the region. Eleven people reportedly died on the spot.
Forces fired in 'self-defense' as villagers retaliated
Thereafter, angry locals retaliated against the security forces and three of their vehicles were torched. Police sources told NDTV that security forces opened fire at the villagers in "self-defense," leaving seven injured. One security personnel also died.
Army 'deeply regrets' incident, its aftermath
Three corps of the Indian Army released a statement Sunday morning. The statement said that the counter-insurgency operation was planned based on "credible intelligence." "The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted," it said. The loss of lives is being investigated and "appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law," it added.
CM calls incident 'highly condemnable'; launches probe
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted Sunday that the Mon incident is "highly condemnable." He extended condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured. "High-level SIT will investigate and justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections," he said. Shah also tweeted Sunday that the "unfortunate" incident left him feeling "anguished."