Nagaland killings: State govt SIT nameS Major among 30 soldiers

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The Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up by the Nagaland government to probe the killing of 14 people in Mon district in December last year, has named 30 Army men including a major, in its charge sheet submitted to court, officials said on Saturday.

A senior Nagaland Police official said that the SIT submitted its charge sheet to the District and Sessions Court in Mon district on May 30 through the additional public prosecutor and named 30 members of the operation team of 21 Para (Special Force) – the major, two subedars, eight havildars, four nayaks, six lance nayaks and nine paratroopers.

“A CID report seeking sanction for prosecution is forwarded to the Department of Military Affairs in the first week of April and reminder letter sent in May. The sanction for prosecution is still awaited. Meanwhile, the charge sheet has been filed, pending sanction for prosecution against the 30 accused.

“In the CID Report, the SIT has also made various observations with regard to the manner in which the operation was carried out and pointed out the need to address those issues and requested the appropriate authority for taking necessary action,” the Nagaland Police said in a statement.

It said that investigation has revealed that Alpha team of 21 Para (Special Force), consisting of 31 personnel led by a major rank officer launched an operation in Oting Tiru area on December 3 last year, based on the intelligence input about presence of a group of militants belonging to the NSCN-K-YA and the ULFA.

On December 4, at around 4.20 p.m., the operation team, which had laid an ambush at Longkhao between Upper Tiru and Oting village and opened fire at a white Bolero pick up vehicle which was carrying eight civilians belonging to Oting village, most of whom were working as labourers in a coal mine at Tiru without ensuring positive identification and failing to carry out challenging procedure.

The statement said that the investigation has also revealed that the operation team had not followed the standard operating procedures and the rules of engagement and resorted to indiscriminate and disproportionate firing, leading to immediate killing of the six occupants of the vehicle on the spot and grievously injuring two persons.

When the villagers of Oting and Tiru reached the incident spot in search of the missing villagers and the pick up vehicle, they turned violent on discovering the dead bodies and a scuffle ensued between the villagers and the security personnel.

“One paratrooper succumbed to injuries and 14 personnel from the operation team sustained injuries as a result of the scuffle. This led the Major to order opening of fire, killing seven more villagers.”

The Nagaland Police official said that the 22-member SIT, under the overall supervision of Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, Sandeep M. Tamgadge, in its charge sheet, incorporated various evidence including relevant documents from various authorities and sources, scientific opinions from CFSL Guwahati, Hyderabad and Chandigarh and technical evidences from NIELIT.

At least 13 people were killed on December 4 last year and another villager was killed and more than 20 injured the next day in the subsequent violence in the Mon district.

Almost all Naga organisations including Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation, All Naga Students’ Association, United Naga Council organised a series of agitations against the killings.

All political parties, Naga organisations, and the Nagaland government have been demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and demanded the government to make the SIT’s report public.

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