Army claims that insurgents belonging to the NSCN(IM) opened fire on them using civilians as human shield
Tinsukia: An elderly person was allegedly shot dead by the army at Pumao village in Arunachal's Longding district on Saturday. The deputy commissioner of Longding has ordered a judicial enquiry.
The deceased has been identified as 60-year-old Lamdan Lukham.
Talking to EastMojo, Longding DC Chesta Yadav said, the civilians have informed the district administration that the army had organized a meeting with the villagers and there was some misunderstanding. The army claims that the villagers pelted stones on them which has been refuted by the villagers.
"A civilian has died due to bullet injuries while 6 have been injured," Yadav said, adding that those injured have been sent Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh, Assam for medical treatment and the nature of injuries will be clear once the medical report is available. "I have ordered a judicial enquiry into the incident to ascertain the truth and asked for the report in 2 days."
Responding to a question by EastMojo, she said, "The district administration did not have any information of the operation by the army."
According to sources, the incident occurred during a meeting between the army and villagers when a commotion broke out. "A youth was beaten up on the previous day," sources added.
The injured have been identified as Nokchai Wangsu, Jempho Wangpan, Naiwang Wangsu, Amok Wangsu, Panphua Wangpan and Champoh Wangpan.
According to army sources, based on intelligence inputs received in last few days, a resident of Pumao, namely Tahjem, was involved in giving assistance and a safe passage to Wangnai Wangsu of NSCN (IM). "Another resident, Jimpho, was questioned about the whereabouts of Tahjem. Initially, he tried to runway, and later gave false information."
On Saturday, acting on a specific input about the presence of insurgents in the village, a team of the army from 19 Sikh regiment tried to ascertain the input by calling the village chief. "The village chief's failure to reply cemented the suspicion of the presence of anti-national elements in the village, hence, the troops of the army moved into the suspected village and another party with the police representative moved from Longding to Pumao," the source said, adding that on seeing the security forces, villagers of Pumao gathered in support of the underground cadres and started pelting stones. "A stone hit the head of an army officer, injuring him," the source said.
Today is also NSCN (IM ) plebiscite day and it is likely that the meeting in the village was being conducted to support the NSCN (IM ) anti-national demands," the army source added.
In a press release, defence PRO Lt Col Sumit K Sharma said, that the insurgents opened fire on the security forces using civilians as a human shield in Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh.
“Today when the army launched a search operation in general area Pumao village there was a gathering of villagers which started protesting against security forces and resorted to stone-pelting. Troops identified suspicious movement and started moving towards a house which drew two to three bursts of fire on the army. Civilians were told to disperse and to safeguard lives and property controlled retaliation was resorted by firing eight single shots," added Sharma.
Sharma said, "In the melee, insurgents managed to escape, however, in the crossfire, it is believed few villagers got hurt and one villager has expired. Army offers condolences to the family of the deceased villager.”
"Many soldiers of the army also got injured due to stone pelting by supporters of NSCN (IM)," added Sharma.
All attempts to speak to the superintendent of Longding police Bharat Reddy turned futile.