Officer Of Major General Rank To Preside Over Army’s Court Of Inquiry

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New Delhi: Office of a Major General rank would prefer over the court of inquiry announced by the Indian Army to probe into the Nagaland shooting incident in which 14 civilians were killed.

Former top Army officials described the situation as “unfortunate” and “tragic,” noting that the botched mission was most likely the result of incorrect intelligence.

Investigation Will Focus On Intelligence & Circumstances

According to PTI, the court of inquiry will investigate the action of the 21 Para Special Forces in the state’s Mon area on Saturday evening.

The investigation will focus on the “intelligence” and “circumstances” that led to Saturday’s operation.

“It is very unfortunate. It is apparently a foul-up of intelligence. That is what it appears to me,” Retd Lieutenant General Ashok Mehta was quoted by PTI in its report.

“What followed is even more tragic. The villagers were so angry that they surrounded the commandos and apparently attacked them with machetes, and in self-defence, they had to fire on them,” he added.

According to him, such an incident has never occurred in the northeast previously.

‘If You Repeal AFSPA, Armed Forces Will Not Operate’

In response to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s request that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act be repelled (AFSPA), Mehta said, “If you repel AFPSA, then the armed forces will not operate because they would not have any police powers or safeguards.”

The paramilitaries who have police powers will operate, but they are equipped to deal with such counter-insurgency operations, he added.

Nagaland Firing Incident

Fourteen civilians were killed in related incidents of firing in the restive state of Nagaland on Saturday and Sunday.

The first incident, in which six civilians were killed, occurred when Army personnel mistook coal mine workers returning home in a pick-up van on Saturday evening for insurgents belonging to the Yung Aung faction of the banned outfit NSCN(K).

After the workers failed to reach their homes, local youth and villagers went to look for them and surrounded Army vehicles. In the ensuing clash, one soldier was killed and Army vehicles burnt. Soldiers were claimed to have fired in self-defence, killing seven more civilians.

(With inputs from PTI)

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