Mon killing probe completed; SIT names 30 Indian army personnel in its charge sheet
The sanction for prosecution is still awaited
Dimapur, June 11 (EMN): The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the government of Nagaland to probe the Oting killing incident has named 30 Indian army personnel, including an officer, in its charge sheet.
The SIT completed its probe more than six months after 14 innocent villagers were killed — 13 in a botched ambush by the 21 Para Special Forces at Oting village in Mon district on December 4, 2021, and one during a protest in connection with the incident on the next day.
The Director General of Police (DGP), T John Longkumer, updated at a press conference on Saturday at Rhododendron Hall, Police Complex in Chumoukedima, that the SIT has completed its probe into the incident and charge sheet submitted to the District and Sessions Court, Mon, on May 30, 2022, through APP, Mon.
He informed that 30 members of the operation team of 21 Para Security Forces, including one Major, two subedars, eight Hav/THM, four Nk, six L/Nk and nine paratroopers, were named in the charge sheet filed in connection with the case.
The DGP stated that a professional and thorough investigation was carried out by the SIT in this case, and numerous evidences including relevant important documents from various authorities and sources, scientific opinions from Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Guwahati, Hyderabad and Chandigarh and technical evidences from National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Kohima were collected during the course of investigation.
Following the completion of the probe, the Crime Investigation Department (CID) report seeking sanction for prosecution has been forwarded to the department of Military Affairs in the first week of April 2022 and a reminder letter sent in May, he shared, adding that the sanction for prosecution is still awaited.
Meanwhile, a charge sheet has been filed pending sanction for prosecution against the 30 accused.
In the CID report, the SIT has also made various observations with regard to the manner in which the operation was carried out and pointed out the need to address those issues and requested the appropriate authority to take necessary action.
He informed that the investigation revealed that Alpha team of 21 Para SF consisting of 31 personnel led by a Major rank officer, launched an operation in Oting, Tiru area on December 3, 2021 based on the intelligence input about presence of a group of NSCN K-YA and ULFA cadres in the area.
On December 4, 2021, at around 4:30 pm, the operation team of 21 Para SF, who laid an ambush at Longkhao between Upper Tiru and Oting village, opened fire at a white Bolero pickup vehicle carrying eight civilians belonging to Oting village, most of whom were working as labourers in the coal mines at Tiru, without ensuring positive identification and failing to carry out challenging procedure.
DGP, Nagaland on Oting killing probe (video)
Investigation revealed that the operation team had not followed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the Rules of Engagement; resorted to indiscriminate and disproportionate firing, leading to immediate killing of the six occupants of the vehicle on the spot and grievously injuring the remaining two persons.
Investigation revealed that when the villagers of Oting and Tiru reached the incident spot in search of the missing villagers and the Bolero pickup vehicle at around 9 pm, they turned violent on discovering the dead bodies and scuffle ensued between the villagers and the operation team members of 21 Para security force. One paratrooper succumbed to injuries and 14 personnel from 21 Para SF team sustained injuries, as a result of the scuffle. This led the major to order open firing at around 10 pm and the operation team started to ‘break contact’.
A separate FIR was registered by Tizit police station on December 11, 2021 against unknown persons to investigate into the death of one paratrooper and assault of other personnel of the 21 Para SF and loss of government property, based on complaint filed by 21 Para SF, and the case is currently under investigation, he updated.
Meanwhile, he maintained that incident was in no way any reflection on the professionalism of the Indian army. However, an offence has occurred and since the law is equal for all of us, SIT was formed and the investigation is completed, and submitted the report to the competent court, he said.