Thirteen civilians were among 14 people killed in an armed forces’ operation against ‘extremists’ in Mon district in Nagaland on Saturday evening, according to reports.
The government has said that a Court of Inquiry has been set up to investigate the incident.
The Assam Rifles issued a statement owning responsibility for the killing of the civilians and assuring “appropriate action.” Assam Rifles comes under the ambit of the Union Home Ministry.
“Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon district, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath are deeply regretted,” read the statement.
“The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” it said.
The leaders of the Konyak Union, representing the dominant Konyak community, said the deceased were some labourers who were returning home to Oting village in a pick-up van from a coal mine in Tiru area 15 km away.
“The armed forces ambushed their vehicle and killed six on the spot. Seven locals died later. At least 11 others are battling injuries while two are missing,” a Konyak union member told The Hindu.
A soldier was also killed in subsequent clashes with villagers.
In a tweet, Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah promised justice to the families of those killed. “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.” Shah tweeted.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on Sunday, launched a scathing attack on the Union over the killings of civilians.
“This is heart-wrenching. GoI must give a real reply,” said Rahul Gandhi while reacting to the killings at Mon district of Nagaland.
He further questioned: “What exactly is the home ministry doing when neither civilians nor security personnel are safe in our own land?”