Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday attacked the Centre over the killing of civilians during an anti-insurgency operation in Mon district of Nagaland, saying the government must give a “real reply” as to what is the home ministry doing when “neither civilians nor security personnel are safe in our own land”.
Reacting to the incident, Gandhi tweeted, “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?”
The Army on Sunday ordered a Court of Inquiry into the killing of civilians and expressed deep regret over the incident.
SIX CIVILIANS, said to be workers in a coal mine, were killed in an ambush by security forces in an area between Tiru and Oting village in Nagaland’s Mon district while returning home in a vehicle Saturday evening. The incident triggered violence in the area Saturday night and late Sunday afternoon, in which eight more civilians (seven on Saturday, and one Sunday) were killed after security forces allegedly opened fire.
A soldier succumbed to injuries in the violence Saturday night, and several others were severely injured, said the Army’s Dimapur-based 3rd Corps in a statement.
Shattering the relative calm in Nagaland, the killings and the subsequent violence put a question mark on peace talks. The killing of civilians has been condemned by local civil society organisations, Naga outfits, national political parties, and the state government itself.
It has once again rekindled the debate over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that gives enormous discretionary powers to the armed forces over a civilian population.
Addressing reporters after attending the funeral services of the civilians at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said he has urged the Centre to remove AFSPA from Nagaland as the law is a “black spot on the image of the country”.