Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hit out at the Centre over the killing of civilians during a counter-insurgency operation 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”.
Police in Nagaland said at least 11 civilians were killed by security forces and that it is investigating whether the incident was a case of “mistaken identity”. A jawan was also killed in the incident.
Reacting to the incident, Gandhi tweeted, “This is heart wrenching. GOI must give a real reply. What exactly is the home ministry doing when neither civilians nor security personnel are safe in our own land?”
The Army on Sunday ordered a Court of Inquiry into the killing of civilians and expressed deep regret over 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. It said the security forces suffered severe injuries in the operation and one soldier succumbed to injuries.
While the Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio promised a high-level probe and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain peace.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed grief on the incident. He tweeted: “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.”
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 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).