Nagaland Firing: Union Home Minister Amit Shah assures completion of probe by SIT within a month

News Desk: Expressing regret over the Nagaland firing incident, Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday assured both the Houses of Parliament that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) will complete its probe within a month and said that all agencies must ensure that such incidents do not recur while undertaking operations against insurgents.

Making a statement first in the Lok Sabha and then in the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Shah said the government is taking steps to ensure peace in the region and was closely monitoring the evolving situation that “continues to be tense but under control”. He said a first information report (FIR) regarding the incident was registered at the local police station after the visit of the Director General of Nagaland Police. The case was transferred to the State Crime Branch Police Station and an SIT was formed.

As a precautionary measure, the State government had imposed prohibitory orders in the affected areas, he informed the Lok Sabha.

The Home Minister offered condolences to the families of the civilians who were killed on December 4 because of mistaken identity and in the violence that followed. Since Saturday, 14 civilians have been killed and 11 more were injured in three consecutive episodes. One soldier has also been killed in subsequent rioting.

“The Government of India sincerely regrets this unfortunate incident in Nagaland and offers its deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives” Mr. Shah said.

Narrating the sequence of events, Mr. Shah said after the Army received information about the movement of insurgents in Nagaland’s Mon district, the ‘21 Para Commando’ unit laid an ambush.

Seeing a vehicle approaching, security forced signalled it to stop but it tried to speed away. Suspecting the presence of insurgents in the vehicle, security personnel opened fire killing six of its eight occupants.

“However, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The two persons who suffered injuries were evacuated to the medical facilities by the Army personnel” Mr. Shah said.

Local people surrounded and attacked the troops. One soldier was killed in the violence and several others were injured. The troops then fired in self-defence and to disperse the crowd, and this resulted in the killing of seven more civilians.

On Sunday evening, an agitated crowd of about 250 people targeted the Assam Rifles company operating base, forcing the security forces to open fire and one civilian was killed.

The Home Minister informed the Lok Sabha that he immediately got in touch with the Nagaland Chief Minister, the Governor and rushed a senior Home Ministry official in charge of the North East to review the security situation.

“The situation was reviewed in detail to ensure that normalcy is restored at the earliest. It was decided that all agencies should ensure that no such unfortunate incident recurs while undertaking operations against insurgents”.

Quoting from a statement issued by the 3 Corps Headquarters of the Indian Army, Mr. Shah said “the cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per law”.