Twenty-two-year-old Sheiwang was in the vehicle that was targeted by the Indian Army’s special commando team on Saturday in Nagaland’s Mon district. Six coal mine workers had died in the shooting that saw violent retaliation by the local residents leaving nine others including a soldier dead by Sunday.
Now a survivor of the shooting incident, Sheiwang told India Today, “The Army didn’t stop us…bullets were hitting us from everywhere.”
He was one of the two coal miners who were injured during the botched-up operation which the Indian Army had set out to conduct based on a tip-off about the movement of insurgents belonging to a faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN). The incident took place in the Oting village in Mon district.
There were eight coal mine workers in the vehicle that came under the attack from the security forces on Saturday. Six of them were killed. The other two sustained bullet injuries. They were admitted to the hospital for treatment.
Sheiwang had received bullet injuries and was admitted to the Dibrugarh Medical College Hospital.
Addressing the Lok Sabha earlier this week, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Army had received information on the movement of extremists in Oting and on this basis, 21 Para commando team laid an ambush in the area.
“A vehicle reached there. It was signaled to stop but it tried to flee. On suspicion of the vehicle carrying extremists, the Army personnel fired upon it,” Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha on December 4.
However, Sheiwang told India Today TV a different story. Recalling the incident, Sheiwang said, “The Army didn’t stop us. There was no gate and no one stopped us. There was no signal.”
He said that eight coal mine workers were returning home in a pickup truck after finishing their work last Saturday.
“We heard firing. There were sounds of three bombs going off and then suddenly bullets came from everywhere,” Sheiwang said.
“We didn’t see anyone, but bullets were hitting us from everywhere. Then, we ducked on the floor of the car,” Sheiwang said.
“I saw others falling, some died on the spot,” he said.
“When I was shot at my arm, I became unconscious. I just remember that I was pulled in from the pickup truck and taken into the other vehicle,” Sheiwang said.
NAGALAND CIVILIAN KILLINGS
At least 14 civilians and one soldier were killed in a counter-insurgency operation that went wrong late Saturday. The incident occurred between Oting and Tiru villages in Nagaland’s Mon district.
Security forces opened fire on civilians in two consecutive incidents of firing – the other incident took place when a mob of angry civilians targeted the security forces.