Amid growing demands for repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, the Army on Sunday said that the court of inquiry into the incident in which 14 civilians were killed in the security ambush in the Mon district earlier this month is “progressing expeditiously”, and that it is “cooperating with the SIT probe ordered by the state government”.
The Army statement came hours after the state government said that the Centre will institute a committee to look into its demand of repealing AFSPA.
The Army in a statement on Sunday said, “The inquiry ordered by Army is progressing expeditiously and all efforts are being made to conclude it at the earliest.” The statement mentioned that it has taken out notices “for people to come forward & assist us in the inquiry by providing any information including videos, photos or any other material from original sources and will be grateful for the same.”
“The Indian Army is also fully cooperating with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) inquiry ordered by State Govt & required details are being shared in timely manner,” the statement added.
The Army had constituted a Court of Inquiry headed by a Major General-rank officer into the ambush, which sources had said was the result of “mistaken identity”.
The Army again expressed its regret for the killings. “We once again deeply regret the loss of lives during the 04 Dec 21 incident in Mon Dist. Loss of lives is indeed sad & unfortunate,” it said in the statement.
The decision to form a panel to look into repeal of AFSPA is a result of a meeting of representatives of the Nagaland government, including Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday to discuss the scenario in Nagaland, in the aftermath of the Oting incident. As per the state government release on Sunday, the report will be submitted within 45 days.
The meeting, which was chaired by Shah, was also attended by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, and former Chief Minister TR Zeliang.
Meanwhile, the Army also requested people of Nagaland “to be patient and wait for the findings of the Army inquiry. We assure you that action will be taken in accordance with the law to secure justice for all.”
It said that the people of Nagaland “have always cooperated and assisted the Security Forces in maintaining peace & tranquillity over the last many decades. We share a deep bond of brotherhood, trust and friendship with you. Let us work together for a brighter & better future.”