Nagaland violence: TMC calls off visit; Congress to send 4-member delegation to state

The Congress party on Monday stated that it will send a four-member delegation to Nagaland’s Mon district, where 14 civilians and a soldier were killed in a firing incident and the violence that followed.

Six civilians, said to be workers in a coal mine, were killed in an ambush by security forces in an area between Tiru and Oting village in Nagaland’s Mon district while returning home in a vehicle Saturday evening. The incident triggered violence in the area Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, in which eight more civilians (seven on Saturday, and one Sunday) were killed after security forces opened fire. A soldier succumbed to injuries in the violence Saturday night, and several others were severely injured.

According to the statement issued by the Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, the delegation comprises AICC general secretary Jitendra Singh, AICC incharge (Nagaland) Ajoy Kumar, and MPs Gaurav Gogoi and Anto Antony.

The delegation will visit Nagaland and report on matters related to the recent incidents. The report will be submitted to the party chief within a week, Venugopal added.

Earlier, the Trinamool Congress called off the Nagaland visit of its delegation in view of the prohibitory orders in the area at present.

A five-member delegation of the party — including MPs Sushmita Dev, Prasun Banerjee, Aparupa Poddar, Santanu Sen and party spokesperson Biswajit Deb — was scheduled to visit the area to meet the families of those killed in the botched anti-insurgency operation over the weekend.

However, on Monday, TMC MP Sushmita Dev took to Twitter and said that their delegation was waiting at the Kolkata airport to board for Jorhat to drive to Nagaland when Sec 144 order in Mon Town was brought to their notice.

“It prevents vehicular movement so impossible to reach,” she added.

Later, addressing a press conference in Kolkata, she said that the incident has put a question mark over Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and proved that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has failed to perform his duty of providing security to the citizens of the country, news agency PTI reported.

Dev referred to the Centre’s decision to increase BSF’s jurisdiction and said the killings in Nagaland proved how things can “go wrong” if the Centre intervenes in states’ jurisdiction.

Dev also demanded that Shah immediately convene a meeting of chief ministers of the northeastern states and said the problems related to AFSPA should be resolved through dialogue and “not through domination and interference in the jurisdiction of the states”.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha that the Army had received information on the movement of extremists in Oting, upon which the 21 Para Commando unit laid an ambush.

“A vehicle reached there, it was signalled to stop but it tried to flee. On suspicion of the vehicle carrying extremists, it was fired upon,” Shah said, adding that six out of its eight occupants died on spot.

“It was later found to be a case of mistaken identity. Two people who were injured were taken to the nearest health centre by the Army. After receiving news of the incident, local villagers surrounded the Army unit and set two vehicles on fire. During the violence, one soldier was killed while several others were injured,” he said.

“Security forces had to resort to firing in self-defence and to disperse the crowd. This caused the death of seven more civilians, some were injured,” he said in the Lower House.

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