The situation in Nagaland remained tense on Monday and authorities imposed prohibitory orders and suspended internet services to quash any protests after 14 civilians were killed by the security forces in the state’s Mon district.
Placards were put up in Mon district demanding that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act be repealed.
The Act gives the military sweeping powers to search, arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order”. The Army personnel can do so with a degree of immunity from prosecution.
The civilians were killed on Saturday evening after security forces mistook them for insurgents and opened fire. The next day, violence also erupted in Mon town after locals entered a camp of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force that operates under the Indian Army, to protest against the killings.
On Monday evening, the bodies of two of the 14 civilians killed were brought back to Oting village.
Locals paid their respects to Shomwang and W Hokup, who worked as labourers at a coal mine.
Several Naga armed groups, civil society bodies and politicians, including the chief of Nagaland unit of Bharatiya Janata Party, have condemned the killings.
In a statement, the BJP’s state unit chief Temjen Imna Along called the Army’s killing a “war crime” and “genocide”. The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah faction) – the biggest Naga armed group involved in peace talks with the government – described Saturday as a “black day” and said the “absurdity and insanity” of the armed forces had been exposed.
Residents also organised candlelight vigils across the state on Sunday night to mourn those killed.
People also gathered around the coffins on Monday to pay their last respect to the deceased.
Peaceful shutdown in Manipur
The areas inhabited by Nagas in Manipur observed a peaceful shutdown for six hours till Monday afternoon, reported The Hindu. The show of solidarity was called by students and members of the civil society in protest against the killings of the 14 civilians.
The shutdown was observed from 6 am and no vehicles were seen on the roads in Kamjong and Ukhrul districts of the state, according to the newspaper.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh expressed his condolences over the deaths of the civilians. He also said that he hoped for appropriate action by the Nagaland government.