During a counter-insurgency operation on Saturday evening by the Assam Rifles in Nagaland which went wrong, thirteen civilians and a jawan of the Assam Rifles were killed.
The incident happened between Oting and Tiru villages in Nagaland's Mon district. A group of daily-wage laborers from Oting village were reportedly returning home from a coal mine in a pick-up van when they were allegedly fired at by the security forces, Superintendent of Police (SP) Imnalensa confirmed.
He further said that about 7-8 injured persons were admitted for medical care. Volunteers from the village had gone searching for them as they had not returned for several hours and found their bodies in the van, a local informed.
The enraged locals reportedly attacked the jawans and set two vehicles of the security forces on fire.
"Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents" a specific operation had been planned in the area, said the Assam Rifles in an official statement.
The statement added, "The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted. 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."
The operation was conducted based on inputs on the movement of militants of the Yung Aung faction of proscribed outfit National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang faction (NSCN-K), which is based in Myanmar, a police official said, adding that Mon shares a porous international border with Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted that it was "highly condemnable" and a "high-level" special investigation team would probe the case to ensure "justice is delivered". He appealed for peace from all sections of society.
Union home minister Amit Shah also tweeted to express his condolences to the families of the deceased on Sunday morning.
"This is heart wrenching. GOI must give a real reply. What exactly is the home ministry doing when neither civilians nor security personnel are safe in our own land?" tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
Member of Parliament from Assam, Gaurav Gogoi, also reacted to the incident on Twitter. He said, "I request that the truth behind the shootings should come out sooner rather than later."
The Konyak Union announced that following the deaths that they were withdrawing from the Hornbill Festival, 2021, reacting to the cold-blooded murder of 13 civilians by security forces.