Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally National People’s Party on Thursday accused Home Minister Amit Shah of twisting facts by saying that security forces had killed civilians in the state’s Mon district after the vehicle carrying them had tried to flee, PTI reported.
On Saturday evening, the security forces opened fire at a pick-up van carrying coal miners from the Tiru area to their village Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district, killing six on board. They mistook the group of workers for insurgents.
After the ambush, residents set vehicles of the security forces on fire. As the soldiers fled, they shot dead more civilians, alleged Nyawang Konyak, the president of the Mon district unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the chaos, seven more civilians and one soldier died.
Shah on Monday had said that the security forces had signalled the vehicle to stop, but it had sped away. He added that the soldiers had fired upon the vehicle on the suspicion that it was carrying militants.
On Thursday, National People’s Party General Secretary of Media Cell Tohovi Achumi said there was no security check-point in the area where the firing took place, PTI reported.
“We strongly condemn Amit Shah’s statement,” Achumi said. “He has deviated from facts and twisted them. There were no security check-points at Oting nor were the victims trying to flee, as claimed by Shah.”
The National People’s Party leader claimed that the roads near Oting were so bad that no vehicle could travel at a speed of more than 10 kilometres per hour.
“No vehicle can flee from there,” he added. “Also, there are bullet holes in the windshield of the vehicle. How can someone be shot from the front if he was fleeing?”
Meanwhile, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday said that a party delegation that was to meet the families of the deceased civilians on Wednesday was stopped in Assam, The Indian Express reported.
“The Congress leaders were stopped from visiting Mon district,” he said. “This government stops us from visiting Lakhimpuri Kheri. This government stops us from visiting Nagaland. The situation is deteriorating in the entire Northeast.”