Botched Nagaland Ambush: 30 Soldiers Named In State Police Chargesheet

Botched Nagaland Ambush: The state police chief said their Special Investigation Team, or SIT, has given the chargesheet to court.

Botched Nagaland Ambush: 30 Army soldiers have been named in state police chargesheet.

Guwahati:

Thirty Army special forces soldiers have been named in a Nagaland Police chargesheet over a botched ambush last year that killed 14 civilians. The state police chief said their Special Investigation Team, or SIT, has given the chargesheet to court. It names one Army officer and 29 jawans.

The SIT alleged the soldiers did not follow standard operation procedures, or SOPs, and rules of engagement.

The SIT's investigation indicated the 21 Para Special Forces soldiers did not follow SOPs during the ambush that killed 14 civilians returning home in a pickup truck at night. A soldier died in a subsequent attack by villagers, who surrounded the jawans in anger, after the incident on December 4, 2021.

The Nagaland government has asked the centre for permission to act against the soldiers named in the chargesheet. The state police have also sent a letter to the Defence Ministry, asking for sanction to take action.

A large part of Nagaland is under the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA, which protects security forces from legal action without the centre's sanction.

A Nagaland man who lost his only son, Shomwang, in the botched ambush alleged the SIT chargesheet clearly indicates the soldiers were at fault. "This proves that Army jawans were at fault. But now the big question is will they be punished? We are anguished and in agony. Will we get justice? We urge upon the government to allow this case trial to take place quickly so that we get justice," said Nagaland resident Chemwang Konyak, who is also a cancer survivor.

A separate army team, which is part of the army's court of inquiry, is also investigating the incident. The court of inquiry team headed by a Major General had already visited Oting village and inspected the site to understand the circumstances in which the incident happened.

The counter-insurgency ambush that went horrifically wrong had started after a unit of the 21 Para Special Forces thought they saw a hunting rifle in a truck that was coming along the Tiru-Oting road of Nagaland's Mon district on December 4.

The forces, which laid an ambush for insurgents, immediately opened fire, killing six of the coal miners who were in the truck. Two others, who were injured, were taken to the hospital by the army. The matter went out of hand as villagers arrived and attacked the troops with machetes and killed one of them on the spot, slashing his throat.

A renewed call for withdrawing AFSPA had started in Nagaland, with protesters taking out marches.

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