Indian police charge 30 soldiers over killing of tribal people | News

Nagaland state police chief said the army resorted to ‘disproportionate fire’ after an investigation was launched into the killing of 13 members of the mostly Konyak tribe in the area, and one member of the security forces, in December 2021.

Police in India’s resilient northeastern state of Nagaland say 30 soldiers were charged with the killing of six tribesmen – who were mistaken for armed insurgents – during an anti-insurgency operation last year.

Nagaland Police Chief TJ Longkumer said on Sunday that soldiers used “disproportionate firing” during the operation that killed six tribal men.

“Investigations revealed that the operation team did not follow standard operating procedures and rules of engagement,” the police chief told reporters in the state capital Dimapur.

The police investigation comes after 13 members of Nagaland’s majority Konyak tribe and one member of the security forces were killed in two separate incidents in December 2021, which began when Soldiers mistook a group of local workers for armed rebels who infiltrated Indian territory from neighboring Myanmar.

The bloodshed began when six laborers returning from work on a lorry were mistakenly killed by soldiers in an ambush in the state’s Mon district.

Seven other members of the tribe were later shot dead when local villagers – enraged after discovering the bullet-riddled bodies of six men in an army truck – clashed with the soldiers.

The sheriff said an indictment had been filed against 30 military suspects in connection with the killings, adding that “prosecution punishment still awaits” from the court. .

An Indian Army spokesman was not immediately available for comment. However, a defense ministry official in New Delhi said the case has been brought before an Indian court, which will make the final decision on prosecution.

Chemwang Konyak, whose son was one of the dead, said the police’s filing of charges against the soldiers proved the army was “at fault”, according to local media. NDTV.

“But now the big question is will they be punished?” Chemwang Konyak was quoted by NDTV as saying.

“We are suffering and in pain. Will we get justice? We urge the government to allow a speedy trial of this case so that we can get justice.”

India’s ‘disturbed areas’

Thousands of military personnel are deployed in India’s northeast, a remote area home to a complex network of tribal groups and many insurgent groups and separatist movements have accused New Delhi of plunder the region’s natural resources and do little to improve the lives of its people. local population.

The Supreme Court of India in 2017 ordered an investigation of 1,528 cases of alleged extrajudicial murder between 2000 and 2012 by police and security forces in the neighboring Manipur state of Nagaland, also under the Rights Act Armed Forces (AFSPA).

The AFSPA gives the armed forces the power to search and arrest, and open fire, if they deem necessary in “disturbed areas”.

The allocation of “disturbed areas” status under the AFSPA has been in effect in parts of the seven northeastern states for many years.

Starting in 2015, the federal government completely removed AFSPA from the states of Tripura and Meghalaya, and partly from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. The act is still in force in the Mon district, where six people were killed in December.

Since the murder, the protests have intensified Locals say the northeast is calling for a complete recall of AFSPA, which has been widespread in the area since 1958 and gives many areas a sense of occupied territory.

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