In December, last year, in what Union Minister Amit Shah at the time called “a case of mistaken identity”, 14 civilians were killed by Indian security forces in Oting area of Nagaland’s Mon district.
In India, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is in place in several places such as Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh etc.
Last year, on 4th December, 2021, 14 civilians were killed over the weekend in a special forces operation that went horribly wrong. The army jawan shot at a pick-up Van that was carrying civilian miners.
These miners were misunderstood as terrorists, but was confirmed as a ‘mistaken identity’ by the Home Minister in the Parliament. After which there were angry crowds of people that gathered who were fired upon again in self-defence.
There was a clash between the army and the local villagers there in which one army personnel also succumbed to injuries. There was an attack on the 27 Assam rifles camp in the Mon district, where local villagers got angry and set ablaze the camp as well as destroyed several assets of the camp.
And in retaliation, the Assam rifles personnel had to fire in which two more civilians lost their lives. So, total death toll of civilians went up to 16 and one army personnel got killed in the entire violence which broke out in Nagaland.
“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.
The AFSPA empowers the security forces to carry out operations and detain anyone without a warrant. It also gives them immunity from arrest and prosecution for any killings. There have been demands for a long time to repeal the law as there are allegations of human rights violations by security forces operating under the law.
Amid calls of its appeal, the Union government, in March, withdrew AFSPA from 15 police station areas in seven districts of Nagaland. Besides Nagaland, areas under AFSPA were also reduced in Assam and Manipur.
As reported, the Indian Army has completed the Court of Inquiry (CoI) in May, 2022 into killings of civilians in December, last year, in Nagaland’s Mon district.
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