Nagaland Ambush: In what could be termed as a major failure on part of the armed jawans, the incident in Nagaland has left the entire nation in shock and is likely to have its repercussions in days to come. The uninitiated attack on civilians by an army patrol mistakenly opened fire on miners returning home after work, killing six. Seven more civilians and an Indian soldier died when angry locals confronted troops. Indian security forces have killed at least 13 civilians in a botched ambush near the Myanmar border, officials say.
The army has been battling separatist militants in the north-eastern state of Nagaland for years. But it is not the first time Indian security forces have been accused of wrongly targeting innocent locals in their operations. Officials in the security establishment said the incident was the result of an Army operation in which the victims may have been mistaken for insurgents from the Yung Aung faction of the banned National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang).
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Following intelligence inputs, the Army had planned an operation to ambush “certain elements” of the NSCN (K) faction who were travelling in a Bolero, sources said. The security personnel laid a cordon and spotted a similar vehicle on the route around 5.30 pm, they said.
It was dark when the vehicle was flagged down, and the driver sped away following which the forces opened fire, said sources. Apart from six killed in the vehicle, two more were injured and taken by security personnel for medical treatment, they said.
Sources indicated that as local villagers came to know about the incident, they surrounded the security personnel. Around 7.30 pm, they said, several villagers armed with machetes attacked the personnel, and managed to snatch some guns from them. The forces initially fired in the air in warning, which was followed by firing from both sides that resulted in the death of one soldier and eight more civilians, including one Sunday. At least three other soldiers were injured in the clashes, sources said.
Following the incident, on Sunday evening protesters threw stones at the Assam Rifles camp and tried to set fire to parts of it, local media reported. Nagaland’s chief minister called the killings “highly condemnable” and said they would be investigated.
With the anger and frustration among the local people and tribal communities still on rage, the state government is expecting a bigger retaliation from the people in coming days. According to a senior journalist from North East, this incident could be the triggering factor of the birth of a bigger rebellion in the region. It is time the Union government takes a proper call that doesn’t hurt the sentiments of public and come out with amicable solution.