The state chief minister leads a mass funeral and demands the repeal of a controversial law granting impunity to security forces.
India held funeral rites for 15 civilians “by mistake” He was killed by her security forces In the northeastern state of Nagaland, amid intense security measures and intermittent internet outages aimed at quelling new unrest in the remote region.
Security and government officials said 14 members of the area’s dominant Cognac tribe and one security personnel were killed on Saturday after forces in the border state “mistaken” a group of workers for armed fighters and open fire.
Another member of the tribe was killed during Sunday’s protests over the military operation, prompting the government to open an investigation, while police and officials ramped up patrols ahead of last rites.
Hundreds of mourners laid wreaths on the coffins of the dead, lined up in a public stadium, as state Premier Nebio Rio led a mass funeral in Mon District, the site of the accident.
“Killing innocent civilians is terrorism, we are Indians, not terrorists,” read a sign nearby.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah is set to make a statement in Parliament on Monday on security in Nagaland, as hundreds of security forces with automatic weapons continue to patrol the restive Mun district.
The Indian Army has expressed “deep regret” over the intelligence slip, but the state’s residents have called for its operations to be closed, with the camps relocated from civilian areas.
Police registered a complaint against a paramilitary unit over the incident, saying that there was no police evidence and no request from the security forces.
“It is therefore clear that the intent of the security forces is to kill and injure civilians,” they said in the complaint, seen by Reuters news agency.
Demands to repeal the anti-corruption law
Anger over the incident is mounting in Nagaland, where people have repeatedly accused the security forces of mistakenly targeting innocent locals in counter-insurgency operations against rebel groups under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Avsa).
Besides sweeping powers of search and arrest, the law is enforced in parts of four of the seven northeastern states as well Indian-administered KashmirIndian forces are allowed to open fire to maintain public order in areas designated as “disturbed areas”.
The law covers Nagaland, where India says rebel groups operate from dense jungles in an unfenced area that also extends to the neighboring states of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh that border Myanmar.
However, the state chief minister called the law cruel and urged its removal.
“Today, the whole world is criticizing the Special Forces Administration Act, and now the Nagaland government wants to withdraw it,” said Nyevio Ryo.
In a joint statement with Al Jazeera on Monday, the Rights and Risk Analysis Group (RRAG) called for the “immediate arrest” of security personnel accused of being behind the killings.
“It has not been heard of insurgents traveling in a pickup truck and it is just a massacre of civilians. Since the police report (FIR) names those accused of mass murder of civilians, the law must take its own course and the accused must be handed over to the police for the murder.”
“Justice must be served through a speedy trial.”