Nagaland killings: Shops, offices shut in protest

Nagaland civilians killing: Shops, offices shut in protest; curfew, ban on mobile internet in Mon

The shutdown was also imposed in Naga-inhabited areas in neighbouring Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

A deserted street in Dimapur in Nagaland on Monday morning. Credit: Tinurepla Ningdangri

Protesters resorted to a six-hour-long shutdown in Nagaland from 6 am on Monday demanding punishment to the security forces, who killed 13 villagers and a protester in Mon district on Saturday and Sunday. 

The shutdown was also imposed in Naga-inhabited areas in neighbouring Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. 

Shops, offices and all other establishments shut their doors till noon on Monday as the situation in Mon and other parts of Nagaland remained tense. The administration in Mon district clamped curfew and curtailed mobile internet in order to prevent further spread of violent protest. 

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Security forces on Saturday evening fired at a vehicle at Oting village in Mon district in which villagers were returning from a coal mine, suspecting them to be militants. Six civilians died in the firing. Soon other villagers reached the spot and attacked the army team in anger and set their vehicles on fire. The army again opened fire killing seven others. One army man was also killed by the villagers. 

On Sunday afternoon, a protester was killed in army firing when a mob set their camp at Mon on fire. This took the death toll to 15.  

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The last rites of the 14 civilians were conducted at a helipad in Mon district on Monday morning. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and deputy CM Y. Patton, besides several others, attended the funeral.

"The army has committed a mistake and violated laws by killing innocent civilians. This is for the first time, the army has admitted their mistake. Entire Nagaland is united against the killings and for justice to the victim families," Rio assured the crowd at the funeral. 

The Naga Students' Federation, the apex students' body, said that Saturday's killing of the civilians by security forces was not new and similar incidents were happening across the state in the name of counter-insurgency operations.

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The federation asked all Nagas to stay away from the Hornbill Festival which is underway at Kisama Heritage Village near Kohima. The NSF declared mourning for five days and demanded that a court-monitored committee be set up for an investigation into the killings and for justice to the victims' families.

It also demanded the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 from Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast. 

Several other organisations in Nagaland extended their support to the shutdown call. 

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