Mon district in Nagaland had observed a shutdown on Tuesday in protest against the Army action against its civilians killing more than a dozen of them. As a mark of respect to the persons that were killed in the incident, the State government had cancelled a major festival which has been in middle of Hornbill Festival celebrations. The State government had also decided to write to the union government asking it to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA)1958. The State cabinet at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday discussed the Army operations that went horribly wrong, according to its spokesperson and minister for planning Neiba Kronu.
The unsavory events in Nagaland on Sunday reveal the mood of the people in the Northeastern State. The Army’s botched operation in Mon district killed six villagers, ten more villagers were killed in firing on the villagers who rebelled against the Army. In all 17 persons were killed including a jawan. Two villagers have been missing since the incident took place.
The Army has issued a statement regretting the failure on the part of intelligence operatives. The Army as well as the State government had ordered investigation. The Army had opened fire at a pickup van carrying coalminers mistaking them to be terrorists. This reveals the state of affairs in the troubled State. The Army chose to fire at a van from which there was no provocation. Just on the suspicion that they were terrorists, the Army resorted to firing. There was no attempt to capture the so called terrorists alive. Killing appears to be the only option.
The villagers who got worked up on seeing the dead bodies of their fellow villagers clashed with the Army with machets and sticks. The troops fired in self-defence killing eight more villagers and a jawan in the process. Subsequently a mob of around 500 people vandalised the camp of Assam Rifles, the primary force to tackle terrorists in Nagaland, at Mon. During the attack at least two persons were killed, according to army sources. Amit Shah, union home minister, expressed the government’s regrets for the mistaken identity.
Some 300 kilometers from Nagaland capital Kohima, hundreds of villagers buried and bid farewell on Monday night to the 12 persons killed. Most of them were coalminers. Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and thousands of others attended the funeral. Following a tip-off on insurgents, Army’s 21 SF had set up an ambush which went horribly wrong.