Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday told Parliament that the Centre was keeping a close watch on the “evolving situation” in Mon district of Nagaland, where innocent civilians taken for insurgents were killed by the Army in an ambush last Saturday evening.
In a statement on both Houses, the Home Minister said the Army ambush was a case of mistaken identity. The Army’s HQ 3 Corps had deeply regretted the incident and its aftermath which resulted in the unfortunate killing of the civilians, he said.
The Army had mentioned that “the cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per law,” Shah said.
The State Police has registered an FIR and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to complete the investigations within one month, he said.
The Home Minister said he got in touch with the Governor and the State Chief Minister when he received information about the incident. His Ministry deputed Additional Secretary, in charge of North East to Kohima, where he met senior State Government and paramilitary officials today.
The situation was reviewed in detail to ensure that normalcy is restored at the earliest, he said. All agencies have been asked to ensure that no such unfortunate incident recurs in future, the Home Minister said. Shah read out his statement amidst Opposition protests.
In his statement, he said, that based on inputs received by the Indian Army about the movement of insurgents near Tiru village in Tizit area of Mon district, a team of 21 para-commandos of the Indian Army had laid an ambush on 4th December evening.
“During the ambush, a vehicle approached the location and it was signalled to stop. However, the vehicle tried to flee, following which the vehicle, suspected of carrying insurgents, was fired upon resulting in the killing of six of the eight persons travelling in the vehicle,” the statement said.
“However, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The two persons who sustained injuries were evacuated to medical facilities by the Army personnel,” he said.
Receiving the news, local villagers surrounded the Army team, burnt two vehicles and assaulted them resulting in the death of one security force personnel and injuries to several others, the Minister said.
He said to disperse the crowd, the security force men opened fire which resulted in the killing of seven more civilians and injuries to some others. The local administration and police have since tried to defuse the situation, which remains tense but under control.
Director-General of Police (DGP), Nagaland and Commissioner, Nagaland visited the spot yesterday. An FIR was registered regarding the incident in Tizit Police Station and considering the complexity of the case it was transferred to the State Crime Police Station (SCPS).
Subsequently, yesterday evening, a mob of approximately 250 tried to ransack the Company Operating Base (CoB) of Assam Rifles at Mon town. The mob burnt buildings of the CoB following which troops had to open fire to disperse the mob, the Home Minister said.
As a result, one civilian was killed while another was injured. More forces have been deployed in the area to prevent any further untoward incidents, Shah said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also got in touch with the Chief Secretary and the DGP of Nagaland and monitored the situation throughout the day yesterday. The situation was reviewed in detail to ensure that normalcy is restored at the earliest.
He said necessary measures are being taken as per the requirement to ensure peace and tranquillity in the region. The state authorities, as a precautionary measure, have promulgated prohibitory orders in the affected areas.”
“The Government of India sincerely regrets this unfortunate incident in Nagaland and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives,” the Minister said.