Nagaland: Thirty Indian army personnel were named in a Nagaland Police charge sheet over a botched ambush last year that killed 14 civilians.
The state police chief said their Special Investigation Team has given the charge sheet to court. The charge sheet mentions the names of one Army officer and 29 personnel, NDTV reported.
The SIT alleged the armed forces personnel did not follow standard operation procedures, or SOPs, and rules of engagement.
The SIT’s investigation indicated the 21 Para Special Forces personnel did not follow SOPs during the ambush that killed 14 civilians returning home in a pickup truck at night. One army personnel died in a subsequent attack by villagers, who surrounded the forces in anger, after the incident on December 4, 2021, the report said.
The Nagaland government has asked the GoI for permission to act against the army personnel named in the charge sheet. The state police have also sent a letter to the Defence Ministry, asking for sanction to take action.
A large part of Nagaland is under the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA, which protects armed forces from legal action without the GoI’s sanction.
A separate army team, which is part of the army’s court of inquiry, is also investigating the incident. The court of inquiry team headed by a Major General had already visited Oting village and inspected the site to understand the circumstances in which the incident happened, the NDTV report said.
The counter-insurgency ambush that went horrifically wrong had started after a unit of the 21 Para Special Forces thought they saw a hunting rifle in a truck that was coming along the Tiru-Oting road of Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4.
The forces, which laid an ambush for insurgents, immediately opened fire, killing six of the coal miners who were in the truck. Two others, who were injured, were taken to the hospital by the army.