Nagaland Police Charge-sheets 30 Soldiers of 21 Para Special Force

Nagaland Police have indicted at least 30 members of the 21 Para Special Force including Major, on 4 December 2021 botched army operations in Oting Teru district of Mon district when at least 13 civilians died. The indictment brought charges of murder and premeditated murder, which did not amount to murder, at the expense of the soldiers’ team. The investigation that preceded the indictment found that the Special Force Operations team did not follow standard operating procedures and rules of engagement and resorted to indiscriminate and disproportionate shooting resulting in the immediate death of six civilians and the serious injury of two others.

The Director General of Police in Nagaland, T. John Longcomer, at a press conference held on Saturday at the Shmokedema Police Complex, said the case of the Tizit Police Station relates to the Oting incident in which civilians were killed in an armed ambush as a result of misidentification on December 4, 2021. The case was re-recorded by the crime police station on December 5 against persons Unidentified Indian Army under Sections 302, 304 and 34 IPC and the investigation was handed over to a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

“A professional and thorough investigation has been conducted by SIT” into the case, he said, adding that various evidence including relevant important documents from various authorities and sources, scientific opinions from Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) Guwahati, Hyderabad and Chandigarh and Tech were collected. Evidence from the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology during the investigation. The DGP said the investigation is complete and the indictment has been submitted to the District and Hearing Court, Monday May 30, 2022 through the Assistant Attorney General.

He said that a case was brought under various sections of the IPC against thirty members of the Operations Team of 21 Para Special Forces including a Major, two Subidar, eight Halffielders, four Nikes, six Lance Nikes, and nine Paratroopers. Accordingly, the PSD said that the CID report demanding punishment for trial was referred to the Department of Military Affairs in the first week of April this year and a reminder was sent in May.

He said that the sentence of the trial is still awaited. Meanwhile, the indictment has been filed, pending the penalty of prosecution against 30 defendants, he said.

The investigation revealed that the 31-man Alpha Team of Para Special Forces led by Major launched an operation in Oting Tiru District on December 3, 2021, based on intelligence inputs about the presence of a group of National Socialist Council in Nagaland (Khablang). (Yong Aung) (NSCN-K (YA) and United Nations Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) cadres in the area, said. An ambush was launched in Longkhao between Upper Tiru and Oting Village, firing at a small white Bolero carrying eight civilians belonging to Oting village Most of them were working as coal miners in Tiru without making sure they were positively identified or challenged, he said.

He said that investigations revealed that the Special Force Operations team did not follow the standard operating procedures and rules of engagement and resorted to indiscriminate and disproportionate shooting, which resulted in the killing of the six occupants of the vehicle on the spot and seriously wounding two people. . The DGP said that when villagers in Oting and Tiru arrived at the scene to search for the missing villagers and Bolero’s small vehicle at around 8pm, they turned violent when the bodies were discovered and a scuffle ensued between the villagers and members of the 21st Special Force.

He said that one paratrooper succumbed to his wounds and 14 of the 21 paratroopers were wounded as a result of the engagement. This led the major to order the shooting around 10 p.m. and the operations team began to cut off contact, he said. And in the second incident, seven villagers were killed by the special force’s bullets.

A separate FIR was registered by Tiru PS on December 11, 2021 under Section 326, 435, 302, 307 and 34 IPC and under Section 25 (1A) Weapons Against Unknown Persons Who Caused the Death of a Paratrooper and Assault on Other 21 Personnel Para Security Force and loss of government property, based on a complaint filed by 21 Para SF, the DGP said. The incident brought great law and order in Mun town the next day with an angry mob vandalizing public spaces and attacking the Assam Rifles post, where a civilian was killed in a retaliatory shooting.

It also led to calls for the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to be removed from Nagaland with civil societies holding several protest marches across the state in December.

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