New Delhi: A day after 14 villagers and a soldier were killed in an operation undertaken by the Indian Army in Nagaland's Mon district, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday termed the incident as a 'case of mistaken identity' and added that the Centre 'expresses regrets' over the deaths.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament, Shah said that the Army had received information on movement of extremists in Oting village of Mon district. "On that basis, 21 commandos laid an ambush in suspected area. A vehicle reached there, it was signalled to stop but it tried to flee. On suspicion of the vehicle carrying extremists, it was fired upon," he added.
Six of the eight passengers in the vehicle died on the spot, while the other two were taken to the nearest hospital by the Army, he said, adding that it was later found to be a case of mistaken identity.
"As news about the incident spread to the nearby villages, locals surrounded the Army unit and attacked them, setting two vehicles on fire. As a result of the violence, one jawan of the security forces died, while many others were injured," Shah said in the Lower House.
He added that the security forces had to then resort to firing for self-defence and to disperse the crowd, which resulted in the death of seven more civilians and many injuries. "Local administration and police also tried to bring the situation to normalcy," the home minister said.
Shah said that the current situation in the state is tense, but under control, adding that an FIR has been registered in the case, and it has been handed over to the state police, who have already formed an SIT and are investigating the incident. "Police officials have been directed to complete the probe within a month," he added.
The Army has also taken up the investigation into the reasons behind the incident at the highest level and an action will be taken as per the law, the home minister said.
"Additional forces have been deployed in a bid to avert anymore incidents in the affected area," he said, adding that the government has decided to strictly inform all the agencies shpuld ensure that "such unfortunate incidents do not take place in the future while taking up such drives".
Shah added that the govt is closely monitoring the incident and all necessary remedial measures are being taken to ensure peace in the area....