Sun. May 29th, 2022

Protests after soldiers opened fire on villagers and thought they were “militants” in India’s remote northeastern region.

Protesters set fire to army vehicles after more than a dozen villagers in the Nagaland state in India were shot and killed by soldiers, who thought the villagers were “militants”.

Indian security forces opened fire on civilians in India’s remote northeastern region, which borders Myanmar, late Saturday, according to local media reports.

“The situation in the entire Mon district is currently very tense. We have 13 confirmed deaths that include one laborer from outside the Nagaland state, ”said Sandeep M Tamgadge, Nagaland police officer.

Nagaland’s chief minister, Neiphiu Rio, told Reuters news agency an investigation would be conducted and punishment handed out to guilty parties in the incident, which he attributed to intelligence failure.

“The unfortunate incident that led to the murder of civilians at Oting is highly condemnable,” he tweeted.

The incident took place in and around the Oting village in the Mon district during a counter-insurgency operation carried out by members of the Assam Rifles, a part of Indian security forces deployed in the state, a senior police officer in Nagaland said.

Fire started when a truck carrying 30 or more coal miners passed by the Assam Rifles camp site, officials told Reuters and The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

“The troops had information about some militant movement in the area and when they saw the truck, they saw the miners as rebels and set them on fire, killing six workers,” the senior police official told Reuters.

“After the news of fire spread in the town, hundreds of tribesmen surrounded the camp. “They burned Assam Rifles vehicles and collided with the soldiers with crude weapons,” he said.

Members of the Assam Rifles returned, and in the second attack, eight more civilians and a security guard were among the dead, the official said.

Government forces fight dozens of ethnic people armed groups in India’s remote northeast whose demands range from independent homelands to maximum autonomy within India.

Local residents in Nagaland have regularly accused forces of mistakenly targeting innocent residents in their counter-insurgency operations against rebel groups.

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