The search company of residents from Oting village that reached the spot of shooting near the Longkhao stream after hearing the sounds of gunfire believes that there was an attempt to stage the dead civilians. Family members of Shomwang, one of the deceased persons, said that he was found half-naked, and some of the dead bodies were changed into camouflage clothing.

Thirteen civilians had died in what was a botched-up operation by the special forces of the Indian Army on Saturday in Nagaland’s Mon district. One soldier lost his life in retaliation by an angry mob of civilians. Another civilian died on Sunday in firing by the forces, targeted by a mob.

Keapwang Konyak, one of the eyewitnesses, told India Today TV that when he reached the site of the shooting, he saw a pickup van speeding away. When the locals chased the vehicle, they found three more vehicles with army men at the spot.

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Konyak concurred with the version of Shomwang’s family. He said, “They [forces] tried to change their [deceased persons’] clothes.”

If this was a case of mistaken identity why the army men would try to change clothes of those who died, he asked.

The locals had found Shomwang’s car with bullet marks and bloodstains. This is why they suspected foul play and decided to check the vehicles. It is then that they found another pickup van in which dead bodies were kept covered in tarpaulin.

Manpeih, who shot the video of the truck with dead bodies, told India Today TV, “When we reached there, we saw an army pickup van filled with dead bodies, I was furious seeing that.”

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It was a routine for the eight coal mine workers to return to Otin from Tiru village near the coal mines every Saturday. When India Today visited the spot of shooting, live Lathode bombs were still there.

Another video accessed by India Today showed multiple number plates of army pickup vans in which the dead bodies of the six civilians were kept. The presence of these number plates has not been explained in the statement put out by the central government.

The Nagaland Police, in its report on the incident, said the security forces were “trying to hide the dead bodies by wrapping and loading them into a pickup truck”.


India today

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