Along with several villagers, 16 security personnel were also injured near Oting village in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4.
A top army official on December 11 said that three of the 16 injured are currently being treated at ICU in a military hospital.
On the fateful afternoon of December 4 and the subsequent protests a day after, 14 civilians and one security personnel lost their lives. A senior official of Indian army based in Nagaland said that one security personnel died and 16 others were also injured on December 4 at Oting area in Mon district and out of them three personnel are currently in ICU at a military hospital in Assam.
The top army official added that four weapons belonging to the security personnel are still missing.
“We had received a credible information about movement of 7-8 members of NSCN-KY near Tiru village and based on that information a 25-member team of 21 para-commandos laid an ambush in the evening of December 4,” the official said.
The official claimed that even Nagaland Police had shared the information about the insurgents with the security forces.
“During the ambush at Oting area at around 4:30 pm, a vehicle approached the location and it was signalled to stop. However, the vehicle tried to flee from the area. The team suspected them to be carrying insurgents and fired upon the vehicle resulting in killing of 6 out of eight persons travelling in the vehicle. It was an incident of mistaken identity and we deeply regretted the incident,” the official said.
He also said that the security personnel had rushed two injured civilians to Sonari hospital in Assam’s Charaideo district along Nagaland-Assam border and later they were shifted to Assam Medical College & Hospital in Dibrugarh.
“After the incident, the army team was there till 7:30 pm and upon receiving the news, local villagers (in Oting) surrounded the army team and burnt two vehicles and assaulted them,” the official said.
He further said that one security personnel died and 16 others were injured in the incident.
“To disperse the crowd, security personnel opened fire which resulted in killing of seven more civilians and injuring some others,” the official said.
The top army official also claimed that four weapons belonging to the security personnel are still missing.
He also said that the army has begun a court of inquiry headed by a major general-rank officer to probe all the circumstances under which the botched operation by the security personnel took place in Mon district on December 4 evening.
Union home minister Amit Shah had also made his statement in the parliament over the Nagaland firing incident.
However, a survivor from the firing incident at Oting, who was undergoing treatment at Dibrugarh, claimed that they were not signalled to stop and rather the security forces opened indiscriminate fire without any warning. “Direct marise…they hit us without any warning,” a survivor was quoted as saying by a report in the Indian Express.
Many organizations, civil society groups, tribal groups of Nagaland have condemned the Union home minister’s statement on Nagaland firing incident and they have called the statement “totally false and fabricated.”