Amnesty calls for impartial probe into Tawang firing

Amnesty calls for impartial probe into Tawang firing

The international watch dog on human rights issues, Amnesty International, has urged Arunachal Pradesh government to conduct a prompt, impartial and independent criminal investigation into the killing of two protesters in police firing in the town of Tawang in the northeastern state earlier this week.

“Firing live ammunition into a crowd when there is no apparent threat to life amounts to excessive use of force. This loss of life cannot be justified,” said Abhirr VP, Senior Campaigner, Amnesty International India.

On the afternoon of May 2, a group of monks and people from the Save Mon Region Federation (SMRF), a group campaigning for ecologically sensitive development, gathered outside the Tawang police station to protest against the arrest of Buddhist monk Lobsang Gyatso, the secretary of the SMRF.

Two people were shot dead. 21-year old Nyima Wangdi, a monk from Tawang was shot twice and 31-year old Tsering Tempa, a resident of Jangda village was shot in the forehead. Seven others were injured.

Lobsang Gyatso was released on personal bond later on 2 May. He told Amnesty International India, “This is an attempt to tarnish the protests. I was inside the lockup when I heard the police shout about taking the ammunition out.”

“The police must use lethal force intentionally only as a last resort, when it is strictly unavoidable and in order to protect life. They must always distinguish between peaceful protesters and those using violence. Any police personnel found to have used excessive force must be held accountable,” Abhirr VP added.

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