Representative Photograph

A civilian was shot dead while several others suffered injuries in a firing by the 19th Sikh Regiment of the Indian army at Pumao village in Longding on May 16.

The deceased was identified as Lamdaan Lukham (60).

The Arunachal Times, citing reports, said that the incident occurred during a peaceful meeting which was held between the villagers and army regarding an incident involving a few army personnel, who had beaten up one Jimphu Wangnow for no reason earlier, on May 15 night.

A commotion broke out when the army personnel, who had no sufficient reason to explain their actions, tried to leave the meeting midway which angered the villagers. They pelted stones at the army and in retaliation, the Army fired back at the crowded public killing one civilian and injuring several others.

Meanwhile, a statement released by Defence PRO Lt Col P Khongsai in Guwahati, said that insurgents opened fire on security forces using civilians as human shields.

“Indian Army was receiving intelligence inputs in the last few days regarding movement and activities of NSCN (IM) cadres in Longding district. On May 16, based on the specific input regarding presence of insurgents in village Pumao, the troops of Indian Army launched a search operation in general area Pumao. There was a gathering of villagers which started protesting against security forces and resorted to stone pelting. Troops identified suspicious movement and started moving towards a house which drew two to three bursts of fire on Indian Army party. Civilians were told to disperse and to safeguard lives and property controlled retaliation was resorted by firing eight single shots. In all this melee insurgents managed to escape, however, in this cross fire it is believed few villagers have got hurt and one villager has expired,” the statement said.

“Indian Army offers condolences to family of the deceased villager. Many soldiers of Indian Army also got injured due to stone pelting by supporters of NSCN (IM),” the statement added.

Reports quoting Longding deputy commissioner stated that superintendent of police along with circle officer of Pumao has rushed to Pumao village and a judicial enquiry is being initiated. “District administration will provide Rs 50,000 to the deceased and Rs 25000 each to the injured as interim relief,” said the DC and assured that the district administration will bear all expenses of the treatment.

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