Oting village 'bars' entry of forces, political parties

Oting village 'bars' entry of security forces, groups, parties till justice delivered

The village body challenged the versions of the incident given by the Centre

Angry villagers burn vehicles belonging to security personnel after 13 civilians were killed by the security forces from Assam Rifles in an anti-insurgency operations, at Oting village under Mon district of Nagaland. Credit: PTI Photo

Still in shock and anger, residents of Oting village in Mon district in Nagaland, where 13 villagers were gunned down by the army on Saturday, has “barred” the entry of security forces, all groups and political parties till justice is delivered to families of the victims.

Calling the killings as the “barbaric cowardice act” of the Indian armed forces, Oting Citizen, the village council on Wednesday warned that they should not be held responsible in any manner to “whatsoever happens” soon in case of violation of “directive of the people.”

The village body challenged the versions of the incident given by the Centre and said security forces ambushed the pick-up van carrying eight villagers at around 4.30 pm, without ascertaining anything about the passengers. The eight were returning home from their work in a mining site to spend the Sunday with their families at Oting.

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“We thought they (security forces) had a shootout with the insurgents. Then they blocked the road from all sides for vehicular and all other movements and diverted all vehicles to take the less used Pioneer Road,” the Oting Citizen said in a statement.

As the workers did not return home, at around 8 pm, other villagers reached the spot where they found the empty pick-up truck with bullet marks pierced in the windshield at the driver’s position, bloodstains covered with dust and mud.

“From this, the villagers suspected something fishy and chased three vehicles of the armed forces and “intercepted” them by overtaking their vehicles. They first denied any knowledge about the whereabouts of the boys travelling in the pick-up truck. When the villagers searched their vehicles, found the bodies of all six boys covered with a tarpaulin and armymen sitting on it.

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“The security forces attempted trying to brand the boys as militants by planting weapons and dressed them in camouflage uniforms and boots. Two other boys were missing. So the situation turned into tense, and a scuffle took place between the two parties.

“All of a sudden, the security forces started firing indiscriminately and abruptly killing and injuring a few others on the spot. They stole our bikes and it was while fleeing in our bikes, they kept firing in different directions, killing and injuring many others on the way,” said the statement.

The Nagaland police said seven others were killed in the second firing.

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