Union Home Minister Amit Shah Sunday expressed anguish over the incident in the Mon district of Nagaland wherein according to the latest reports 13 people were killed allegedly by security forces perhaps due to mistaken identity.
“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,” the Home Minister tweeted.
“A high-level SIT constituted by the State government will thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families,” said Shah, who is in Rajasthan for a BSF function.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also condemned the incident, appealed for ‘peace from all sections’, and assured justice.
“The unfortunate incident leading to the killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable,” he wrote on the microblogging site.
“Condolences to the bereaved families and speedy recovery of those injured. High-level SIT will investigate and justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections,” the Chief Minister wrote.
Rio, who was in Delhi and also met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday, has rushed back to the state on Sunday morning.
Reports say the incident happened when the Oting villagers – coal mine workers – were returning from the coal mining area, on their way to their village from Tiru by pick-up truck when the assault took place.
The situation in the area has been described as grievously tense as there are reports of civilians setting ablaze vehicles belonging to Assam Rifles.
President of Oting Village Students’ Union Keapwang Konyak has been quoted in a local newspaper as saying that the incident came to light when the villagers did not return home even after their usual time.
Eyewitness account said at least six people were killed on the spot.
The unfortunate incident could be a case of the ‘mistaken identity’ of the victims.
Meanwhile, reports from the state capital Kohima said, the somber mood prevailed at the venue of the annual tourism bonanza Hornbill Festival, which had begun on December 1.
Reports reaching here said 13 dead identified included some family members as well. There were two brothers each from two families.
Thapwang and Langwang were sons of one Leiwang while Yeihwang and Shomwang belonged to the family of another villager Chemwang.
There were 12 local Konyak Nagas and also one non-Naga identified as Bubul.