New Delhi: Lok Sabha members on Monday condemned the killing of civilians during an anti-insurgency operation by security forces in Nagaland and demanded an impartial probe into the incident.
Members also called for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) enforced in Nagaland that allows security personnel to use force and even open fire after due warning in case of breach of law and order.
Stressing that emotional integration of people living in border areas is extremely important for the unity and integrity of the country, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari demanded that there should be an impartial judicial inquiry by a sitting high court judge into the unfortunate incident.
He also urged the government not to invoke the immunity under the AFSPA against those who are found guilty.
Tokheho Yepthomi, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) member in the Lok Sabha, said, There should be an inquiry into the incident. The state government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh for those slain. But, since the civilians were killed by central security forces, the compensation should be paid by the Centre”.
“The AFSPA has not given powers to security forces to indiscriminately kill people, Yepthomi said referring to the killing of 14 civilians during an anti-insurgency operation in Nagaland on December 4.
Congress member Gaurav Gogoi said the death of Indians at the hands of security forces was highly condemnable.
How can a group of unarmed civilians be mistaken as militants, Gogoi said and demanded convening of an all party meeting to discuss the situation in the north-east.
Sudeep Bandyopadhyay (Trinamool) said the situation in Nagaland should not be allowed to deteriorate further and demanded maximum compensation be given to the next of kin of those killed in the incident.
Members noted that Nagaland should not be thrown into uncertainty at a time when the Centre was holding peace talks with different groups in the state.
Vinayak Raut of the Shiv Sena wondered how intelligence agencies could give such misleading inputs to the security forces. He also demanded an inquiry into the functioning of intelligence agencies.
P V Midhun Reddy (YSCRP) demanded action against the perpetrators but said that care should be taken to ensure that the morale of the armed forces does not go down.
T R Baalu (DMK), Rajiv Singh Ranjan (JDU) and Supriya Sule (NCP) expressed deep anguish at the killings and demanded a statement of Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament.
Ritesh Pandey (BSP) said “mistakes” by the armed forces or failure to follow protocol has raised questions on the credibility of the government and called for an impartial probe into the incident.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) wanted the government to tell Lok Sabha when it would repeal the AFSPA in the state.
Owaisi also wanted the government to tell the House whether the tip off about the presence of militants in the region was received from an informer with links to China.
Pradyut Bordoloi (Congress) demanded an oversight mechanism on the implementation of the AFSPA in Nagaland and demanded that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to book.
On Sunday, the Army expressed deep regret over the incident in Mon district of Nagaland and ordered a Court of Inquiry.
Police in Nagaland’s capital Kohima had said it was investigating whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
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