New Delhi: At least 13 civilians have been gunned down by security forces in Nagaland’s Mon district, police said on Sunday, adding that it is investigating whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity. One soldier also died in rioting.
The Army on Sunday ordered a Court of Inquiry into the killing of several civilians during an anti-insurgency operation in Mon district of Nagaland, and expressed deep regret over the incident.
Police in Nagaland’s capital Kohima said at least 13 civilians were killed by security forces and that it is investigating whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
In a statement, the Army said the cause of the “unfortunate” loss of lives is being investigated by the Court of Inquiry at the “highest level” and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of the law. Official sources said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Army Chief Gen MM Naravane have been briefed about the incident.
Army officials said the operation in Mon district that borders Myanmar was carried out based on credible intelligence inputs about the likely movement of insurgents in the area.
“The incident and its aftermath are deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated by a Court of Inquiry at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” the Army said in a statement.
The exact number of fatalities, however, is yet to be ascertained as 13 people died on the spot, and several others succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in neighbouring Assam, a police officer said.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio promised a high-level probe into the incident and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain peace.
Officers informed that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Army Chief Gen M M Naravane have been briefed about the incident.
Home Minister Amit Shah too tweeted his anguish and expressed “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.”
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), informed the police officer.
(With Inputs From PTI)