Ordeal continues for Nagaland’s Oting shooting survivors
Government job, ex-gratia and compensation provided as promised
Oting, Dec. 2 (EMN): Almost a year after the tragic Oting incident, the only two survivors of the eight coal miners — Sheiwang and Yeihwang — have been left maimed from the botched ambush by the 21 Para Special Forces on December 4.
The duo survived but the other six travelling with them on the ill-fated pick-up truck were killed in the firing.
‘My (right) eye is blind due to a bomb blast and I cannot move my left hand properly because of the bullet injury,’ Sheiwang (22) told Eastern Mirror last week at his home.
He survived three bullet wounds to his left hand alone, besides being hit in other body parts.
‘My brother and I were supposed to be the bread winners of the family. But, he was killed and I am disabled now and cannot do any work. Who will look after my mother and father now?’ Sheiwang asked.
His elder brother, Thakwang, was travelling on the same pick-up truck with him and six others but was shot dead on the spot.
After the incident, he was admitted to Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh, where he underwent treatment for about three weeks. He later went to Guwahati for treating his injured eye, only to be told that there was no treatment available to regain his eyesight. So, he returned to Mon headquarters where he received treatment for one month before going home.
He informed that he has not gone to Dibrugarh for medical follow-ups after returning home.
The injured hand, he said, is “better now” but pain remains. ‘I cannot work or lift heavy things,’ he said.
Recalling the December 4 incident, Sheiwang said the eight of them were returning from Tiru in a bolero pick-up truck when the incident happened.
‘We were singing on the way. We didn’t even take bath. But they (Army) shot right at us. They did not signal us to stop,’ he said.
‘They even blasted three bombs,’ he added.
It may be recalled that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in his statement made in the Parliament last year on the Oting incident, stated that they were “signalled to stop” but tried to flee, sparking an outrage among the public.
Recounting further, he said that one of his friends shouted “we are public” but that ‘did not stop them from shooting at us’.
He went on to say that he didn’t remember the later course of events and how he had been taken to the hospital.
‘I found myself on a hospital bed when I woke up on Sunday (December 5, 2021),’ he said.
Sheiwang’s father Wanghan Konyak (57) said that their family has received compensation and a government job as promised for the kin of those killed.
As for Sheiwang, he said that the government had borne his medical bills for the initial treatments but they bore the travelling costs for his medical check-up.
Citing doctor’s advice, he said that there was a risk of his left (normal) eye being affected if surgery was conducted on the right, and therefore opted not to go for a surgery.
On the other survivor, Yeihwang, he said that ‘bullet had entered his head and now he cannot walk and lies in bed all the time’.
Yeihwang’s elder brother also said: ‘He lies (in bed) the whole time and cannot walk. He also complains of headache due to the injury. He cannot speak much.’
He is now being looked after by his elderly mother, brother and sister-in-law.
Village Council Chairman of Oting, Longwang Konyak, said that all the 14 victims’ kin have received compensation and government jobs. However, he said the seriously injured persons were not given jobs.
He said that they had submitted a memorandum to the state government to provide government jobs to those seriously injured, disabled or who cannot work to earn their livelihood.
He said they are awaiting response from the government, while expressing hope that it will be done soon.
‘Government has done its part’
As per the documents made available to Eastern Mirror by the Home department on Friday, an ex-gratia of INR 16 lakh each had been given to the next of kin of the 14 deceased.
The state government had also provided government jobs to the next of kin of all the victims.
An amount of INR 1 lakh each had been given to all the 18 seriously injured persons and an assistance of INR 50,000 each to 17 persons who sustained injuries, it stated, adding that medical expenses incurred by the state government till is INR 4,89,930.
Home Commissioner Abhijit Sinha also told this newspaper that the government had provided government jobs for the deceased families. The injured were not given jobs but their medical expenses were taken care of, he said while acknowledging that the locals had appealed to provide government jobs to those seriously injured.
It was also learnt that government jobs had been allotted to 15 persons, with one of the families getting two jobs, as a victim’s wife also asked for one after it was given to his brother.
Meanwhile, an official said that the government has “promptly” done its part and did whatever was needed to be done, including payment of compensation and ex-gratia to victims’ families. As for the delay in justice delivery, it is with the court and not from the government’s side, the official added.