New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday (December 5, 2021) slammed the Centre after as many as 13 civilians and a Jawan were killed during an anti-insurgency operation in Mon district of Nagaland.
“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?” Rahul said.
Rahul’s reaction comes after 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.
Firing began when a truck carrying 30 or more coal-mine labourers were passing the Assam Rifles camp area.
“The troopers had intelligence inputs about some militant movement in the area and on seeing the truck they mistook the miners to be rebels and opened fire killing six labourers,” a senior police official told Reuters.
“After the news of firing spread in the village, hundreds of tribal people surrounded the camp. They burnt Assam Rifles vehicles and clashed with the troopers using crude weapons,” he added.
“Members of the Assam Rifles retaliated, and in the second attack eight more civilians and a security member were among those killed,” the official informed.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he was “anguished” at the news of civilians being killed in the incident late on Saturday night.
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.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 5, 2021
Nagaland’s chief minister Neiphiu Rio promised a high-level probe into the incident and 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. High level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land.Appeal for peace from all sections
— Neiphiu Rio (@Neiphiu_Rio) December 5, 2021
Meanwhile, the Indian Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident.
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.
Army officials said the operation in Mon district 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.
It also said the security forces have suffered severe injuries in the operation and one soldier succumbed to injuries.
(With agency inputs)