A civilian was killed and another sustained injuries after Indian Army personnel fired at them during a law and order situation in Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday, The Indian Express reported. However, the Army claimed that the insurgents used a human shield to fire at its officials.
The deceased, 60-year-old Lamdaan Lukham, suffered bullet injury in the head and died on the spot. Another person identified as Wangnai Wangsa received bullet injury in his leg.
Cheshta Yadav, deputy commissioner of Longding, told the newspaper that the troops of the 19th Sikh regiment stationed at Pumao village were negotiating with the locals about an incident when villagers started protesting against security forces by pelting stones.
Longding Superintendent of Police BR Reddy said that the Army had apprehended one of the young people in the village for anti-insurgency activities on Friday, according to NorthEast Now. During the questioning, he was reportedly beaten and a meeting was called between the locals and representatives of the Indian Army to discuss the matter.
“Certain youth from behind started pelting stones,” Yadav said. “In response, the Army personnel opened fire.”
Reddy also claimed that the Army officials fired in retaliation, adding that a judicial inquiry in the case has been initiated.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army, however, in an official statement said they had launched a search operation in the area after receiving intelligence inputs about the movement and activities of rebels belonging to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
“There was a gathering of villagers which started protesting against security forces and resorted to stone-pelting,” the Army said. “Troops identified suspicious movement and started moving towards a house which drew two to three bursts of fire on Indian Army party. Civilians were told to disperse and to safeguard lives and property controlled retaliation was resorted by firing eight single shots.”
The statement also said many soldiers of the Indian Army were also injured in the incident. “In all this melee, insurgents managed to escape, however, in this cross-fire it is believed a few villagers have got hurt and one villager has expired,” it added. “Indian Army offers condolences to the family of the deceased villager.”
An interim relief of Rs 50,000 to the family of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to the family of the injured has been announced.
The North East Humans Right Organisation has filed two complaints before the National Human Rights Commission in the matter. In the first complaint, it said Jimpo Wangow, the youth taken for questioning was beaten up for no reason by the Army personnel. “The victim was on his way home from church at around 8 pm when he met a group of soldiers who took him to their base camp and started beating him black and blue causing severe injuries on his body,” it said.
The second complaint said that the Army personnel could not explain the reason for their actions and tried to move out from the village amidst the meeting which angered the villagers and they started throwing stones. “In retaliation the Indian Army fired back at the crowd killing one civilian while several others were reportedly injured in the incident,” the organisation said.
It urged the NHRC to issue necessary directions to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case.