Army Allows SIT To Examine And Record Statements Of Jawans

indian Army

Kohima: The Indian Army has given approval to the Special Investigation team probing the ambush that went horribly wrong on December 4, which claimed the lives of 14 civilians, to examine and record statements of Jawans, said police sources. A soldier died in a subsequent attack by villagers, who surrounded the jawans in anger.

The Nagaland Probing committee is likely to to complete recording the statements of the 21 Para Special Forces soldiers this week, top police sources said. It's not yet clear if the soldiers will be interrogated by the SIT or they will only submit prepared statements.

The Nagaland SIT has been expanded from eight members to 22 officers to speed up the probe, police sources said, adding the bigger team includes five Indian Police Service officers. The SIT has been further divided into seven teams.

It is also not clear how the probe by the state-level team will proceed since Nagaland is under the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA, which protects security forces from persecution without the centre's sanction.

A separate army team that is part of the army's court of inquiry is already in Nagaland.

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 has started in Nagaland, with protesters taking out marches. A committee will be formed to look into the withdrawal of AFSPA, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said earlier this week, after a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah.

In neighbouring Manipur where state election will be held early next year, removing AFSPA has become a big political issue.

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