Nagaland: Major General Rank Officer To Head Army Court Inquiry

REPRESENTATIVE
REPRESENTATIVE

An officer of major general rank would head the court of inquiry to probe the operation of the 21 Para Special Forces that took place in Nagaland's Mon district on Saturday evening, said the sources.

The Indian Army has ordered a court of inquiry headed by an officer of major general rank into the Nagaland firing incident. 14 civilians were reportedly killed in the firing incident on Saturday in a case of mistaken identity.

The botched-up operation was likely to result from a wrong intelligence, said former senior Army officers on Monday and called the incident "unfortunate" and "tragic".

An officer of major general rank would head the court of inquiry to probe the operation of the 21 Para Special Forces that took place in Nagaland's Mon district on Saturday evening, said the sources.

They noted that an inquiry will focus on the "intelligence" and the "circumstances" on which Saturday's operation was executed.

Lieutenant General Ashok Mehta (retired) while speaking to PTI said, "It is very unfortunate. It is apparently a foul up of intelligence. That is what it appears to me."

He added, "What followed is even more tragic. The villagers were so angry that they surrounded the commandos and apparently attacked them with machetes, and in self defence, they had to fire on them." He further said that such an incident has never happened before in the north-east.

Mehta added, "This is one of the biggest foul ups of military operations or counter insurgency operations in recent times."

"If you repeal AFPSA, then the armed forces will not operate because they would not have any police powers or safeguards.", he said on Nagaland Chief Minister's Neiphiu Rio demand to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

He further said that the paramilitaries who have police powers will operate, but they are equipped to deal with such counter-insurgency operations.

On Saturday and Sunday, fourteen civilians were killed in related incidents of firing in the restive state of Nagaland.

The first incident occurred when Army personnel mistook coal mine workers returning home in a pick-up van on Saturday evening in which six civilians were killed for insurgents belonging to the Yung Aung faction of the banned outfit NSCN(K).

Local youth and villagers went to look for them and surrounded Army vehicles after the workers failed to reach their homes. In the ensuing clash, one soldier was killed and Army vehicles burnt where soldiers were claimed to have fired in self-defence, killing seven more civilians.

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