Army tried to hide bodies: Nagaland DGP’s report

After killing mine workers near Oting village, security forces put the bodies in a truck, covered it with tarp and tried to whisk them away, but villagers intervened

NagalandImage: Reuters

A report by T John Longkumer, Nagaland’s Director General of Police (DGP) has made several shocking revelations, not the least of which is how “special forces personnel trying to hide the dead bodies of the six villagers by wrapping and loading them” in a pick-up truck. The report refers to the killing of coal miners, all members of Nagaland’s Konyak tribe, who were returning home after work on December 4, 2021.

The Telegraph quoted an excerpt from the report that traces the events of that fateful evening saying, “On the evening of 4th December around 1610 hours, when eight villagers were returning home from coal mining work at Tiru in a pick-up truck, they were ambushed and killed by Security Forces (reportedly, 21st Para Special Force based in Assam) at random, apparently without any attempt for identification.”

SabrangIndia had reported previously how on the security forces had claimed that they had ambushed the convoy because they had “bad intel” that members of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) or NSCN-K, a separatist group that has been designated a terrorist group, were travelling through the region. Shortly afterwards, the Army had issued a statement saying, “Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon District, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath are deeply regretted.”

However, this explanation didn’t wash with anyone given how security forces opened fire without verifying the identities of the people they were shooting at, something that has now been corroborated by the DGP’s report. Six persons were killed on the spot, and two others were taken to Dibrugarh Medical College Hospital, where they were admitted to the ICU, as per the report.

Meanwhile, villagers had sent out search parties when the miners did not reach home. It is at this point that the report makes its most shocking revelation saying, “On reaching the spot, they found the pick-up truck and the special forces personnel trying to hide the dead bodies of the six villagers by wrapping and loading them in another pick-up truck (Tata Mobile) apparently with the intention of taking the dead bodies to their base camp,” as per excerpt quoted in The Telegraph report.

When the villagers discovered bodies covered in tarpaulin sheets, they retaliated by setting three vehicles on fire. That’s when security forces opened fire once again and shot dead more villagers. A total of 13 civilians and one member of the security forces were killed on Saturday.

Meanwhile, India Today carried excerpts of the report pertaining to the violence by protesters at the Assam Rifles Camp 27 located in the Thamnan Ward. The report said, that originally a mass funeral was planned by the Konyak Union on Sunday, but the event was postponed to Monday morning. “However, no clear announcement was made on the postponement of the funeral service. This led to confusion among the crowd that had gathered for the funeral service at the Helipad in Mon town,” India Today quoted the report as saying. This prompted the attack on the camp, and security forces opened fire on protesters who were wielding machetes, sticks and pipes. A resident of Chi village was confirmed dead in this incident, and six people including an India Reserve Battalion personnel were reported to have sustained gunshot wounds.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio called off the Hornbill Festival. The 10-day celebration of the state’s tribal culture was to end on December 10, but now stands cancelled in wake of widespread protests and an increasing demand to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).


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