Nagaland Civilian Killings : SIT To Present Final Report Before Court After Receiving Forensic Results

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  • NET Web Desk

Recent killings of innocent civilians across the Mon district of Nagaland due to the incessant spraying of bullets by Indian Army has led to extreme rage across Northeastern regions. Based on this, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Nagaland government will submit its final report to the court after receiving the forensic results, as informed by a senior official.

Speaking with reporters, the Nagaland Additional Director General of Police (DGP) (Law and Order) Sandeep Tamgadge, the overall supervisor of the SIT asserted that 85 civilians, and 37 security personnel, including 31 army jawans involved in the botched operation, have been examined and the inquiry team has visited the spot multiple times.

“The exhibits, soil and blood samples have been sent to Central Forensic Science Laboratories in Guwahati and Hyderabad and their reports are awaited. As soon as we receive those, we will start preparing the final report which will be submitted to the court,” he said.

The official said that once the final report is submitted to the court, everyone can access the findings but not before that as it would not be “legally tenable”.

“We have worked against time to complete the probe, and we have reached this far. But it would be difficult to say how long the forensic laboratories take, but we have made a special request to them to expedite the scientific analysis considering the sensitivity of the case,” he said.

Following the incident, suo motu cases were registered with Tizit Police Station. However, the state government constituted the SIT on December 5 and transferred the case to State Crime Police Station at Kohima to complete the investigation within one month.

According to PTI report, more members were co-opted in the SIT, which is now made up of 21 officers, including four from the Konyak tribe to which the deceased belonged, and Inspector General of Police (Range) Limasunep Jamir is the Chief Investigating Officer (CIO).

The SIT was divided into eight teams, of which four teams were tasked with examining the witnesses and survivors in the three incidents, while one team each was tasked with studying the incident site and collecting evidence, cyber technical analysis, comparison of documents, and coordination with various forensics.

“During this period, the SIT has visited the site multiple times, and collected a lot of material evidence including empty cartridges, and an unmanipulated video. The SIT examined 85 civilians including two survivors undergoing treatment in Assam’s Dibrugarh, and other injured people being treated in medical establishments at Dimapur and Mon, besides villagers from Oting and government officials,” he said.

The official said that the SIT issued notices to the army under Section 91 of CrPC for collection of documents including names of those involved in the operation, and accordingly 37 officers and other ranks of army and Assam Rifles, including 31 army jawans involved in the operation in the Oting-Tiru area, were examined.

He said that the security forces were cooperative with the SIT. The officer also asserted that the main motive of the SIT was to conduct the investigation in a professional manner so that the evidence stand all odds in the court.

Its worthy to note that the demand for AFSPA repeal also gained momentum after the tragic incident of December 4, when innocent civilians identified as coal-miners were gunned down by security forces in Mon district of Nagaland. The unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of botched army operation, which mistook the civilians as insurgents from the Yung Aung faction of the banned militant outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K).

Recently, the Indian enquiry team have visited the incident site, and appealed the people of Nagaland to come forward and assist in the inquiry associated with the December 4 Oting Massacre, through sharing of any information, including – videos, photos or any other material from the original source. Furthermore, amid the escalating clamour to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from different quarters of Northeastern regions, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the ‘controversial law’ for another 6 months, referring the entire state as “disturbed area”.

On June this year, the Centre had declared Nagaland as “Disturbed Area” and further extended the operation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for 6 more months, which was about to end on December 31. The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.

Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, asserts that once declared “disturbed”, the area has to maintain the status quo for a minimum of three months. Under this act, in a “disturbed” area, an officer has full power to warn, or open fire and other kinds of forces against the person who is acting against law.

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