The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) has called for immediate arrest of the accused personnel of the Special Forces named in the FIR filed by the Nagaland Police for the deaths of innocent civilians in Oting village.

In a horrific attack, several villagers were gunned down while returning after working at a coal mine at Tiru on December 4. The civilians were travelling in a pickup truck and eight of them died when they were fired upon by the security forces.

When the villagers protested against the killing of the civilians before the nearby Assam Rifles camp, at least five more villagers were killed and scores of others were injured.

“Insurgents travelling in a pick-up truck is unheard of and it is nothing but plain massacre of the civilians. Since the FIR names the accused for the mass murder of the civilians, the law must take its own course and the accused ought to be handed over to the police for the offence of murder. Otherwise, mere statements of anguish or formation of Special Investigation Team or Court of Inquiry are simply not adequate to assuage the outrage against the massacre. The law must be seen to being applied equally to all murder accused” said Suhas Chakma, Director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG).

“The central forces operate under the command of the local police under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and they are deployed to aid the civil administration. The central forces cannot operate on their own and in this case, the FIR makes it absolutely clear that the local police were not informed by the central forces. Justice must be established through fast track trial,” Chakma added.

Several other civil society organizations, Nagaland tribes and student organizations alongside opposition leaders have also called for immediate action against those involved in the civilian killings in Mon district.

On Sunday, the Nagaland government appointed a high-level SIT to investigate the case after CM Neiphiu Rio and Union Minister Amit Shah informed of a probe by the SIT earlier on Sunday.

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