Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday attended the funeral services of the civilians who were killed by security forces at Oting in Mon district. He paid tributes to the victims and offered condolences to the families of the deceased.
The Chief Minister said that the "sacrifices" of the "innocent" civilians will not be forgotten. Rio said in a tweet, "Paid my last respects to the innocent lives who were killed at Oting. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten. We are together in this. We stand in solidarity with the people. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May the departed souls RIP."
As many as 14 civilians died in firing by security forces in Mon district. The Nagaland government on Monday has granted an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the 14 people killed in firing by security forces. Rio said the Centre will be providing an ex gratia assistance of Rs 11 lakh to the kin of the deceased.
The Chief Minister also said that his government has asked the Centre to remove the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, from Nagaland. "Nagaland and the Naga people have always opposed #AFSPA. It should be repealed," Rio tweeted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday told Lok Sabha that the death of 14 civilians in firing by the Armed Forces in Nagaland was a case of "mistaken identity" and the Army has expressed regret over the incident.
Addressing the Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour, Shah said all agencies have been asked to prevent a repeat of such incidents in the future.
Shah told the Lower House that on December 4, the Army had received information on the movement of extremists in Oting village in Mon district. Based on the intel, 21 commandos laid an ambush in the suspected area. "A vehicle reached there...it was signaled to stop but it tried to flee. On suspicion of the vehicle carrying militants, the Army personnel fired upon it," Shah said.
He further mentioned that six out of the eight people in the vehicle died. "It was later found to be a case of mistaken identity," he added.
Soon after, a village search party found their bodies and attacked the soldiers, leading to firing in which seven more civilians died. A soldier was also killed. The villagers also surrounded and attacked the Army unit by setting two vehicles on fire.
Shah said the Army has expressed regret over the incident and is investigating the matter at the highest level.
A total shutdown has been imposed in the capital Kohima after locals protested against the army personnel.