POLITICS

Nagaland civilian killings: Centre denies sanction to prosecute 30 Army men in Oting botched ambush case

Reported By:DNA Web Team| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: PTI |Updated: Apr 14, 2023, 11:47 PM IST

The Centre has denied to accord sanction to prosecute 30 Army men who were allegedly involved in the December 2021 killing of 13 innocent civilians in a botched ambush at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district, an official said.

This has been communicated to the Mon district and sessions judges court, where the charge sheet has been filed by the state police as required by law, IGP of CID, Nagaland, Roopa M said in a release here on Thursday.

“The competent authority (Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Government of India) has conveyed its denial to accord sanction for prosecution against all the 30 accused,” she said. The sanction by the Government of India is mandatory for intitiating legal suit against any personnel of the security forces for any action taken by them while discharging their duties under section 197(2) Cr.P.C and Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the release said.

The charge sheet in the case was filed by Nagaland police on May 30, 2022, Roopa said.

The Army had set up a ‘court of inquiry’ on the incident but the findings have not been made public.

At least six daily wage earners returning home in a vehicle from Tiru valley coal mine bordering Assam were gunned down allegedly by the security forces in a failed counter-insurgency operation at Oting village in Mon district on December 4, 2021.

Seven more villagers were shot dead later reportedly by the security forces following a scuffle with a group of villagers who had found the bodies in an army vehicle.

The SIT of Nagaland Police was constituted by the state home department the very next day. The SIT after completing the probe on March 24, 2022 had sought the sanction for prosecution from the department of military affairs of the defence ministry against the accused security forces personnel who were involved in the incident, the IGP said.

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It had reported involvement of 30 Army men – a major, two subedars, eight havildars, four naiks, six lance naiks and nine paratroopers of 21 Para security Force.

But their wives approached the Supreme Court for a stay of the proceedings in the case. The apex court in an interim order dated July 19, 2022, stayed further proceedings in the case, Roopa said.

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