Arunachal Pradesh: Villagers injured in botched drive
Two young villagers were injured in a botched counter-insurgency operation by security forces in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on Friday evening.
The operation came a day after the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 was extended in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts and two police stations under Namsai district of the frontier state for another six months from April 1.
The site of the operation, carried out by the 12 Para Commandos, is located between Hualam and Khowatong villages, about 26km west of the district headquarters Khonsa, a police official said.
The injured villagers identified as Nokphya Wangdan, 28, and Ramwang Wangsu, 23, hailed from Chasa village, about 20km from Khonsa. They were returning home from a fishing trip when they were “mistakenly shot” at around 2am. One of them was hit on the leg, the other on his hand, sources said.
They were part of a seven-member team, returning after fishing in the nearby Tissa river between 6.15 pm and 6.30pm when the incident took place pm on Friday. “Five from the group escaped unhurt and informed the villagers. The site is about 6km from their village. Matter is under investigation,” the police official told The Telegraph.
The police official also said a case had been registered based on an FIR filed by the villagers at the Khonsa PS. He said a discussion was held at the village chief’s residence to defuse the situation, provide adequate medical attention and compensation to the injured.
Another Tirap district administration official said the security forces “admitted” to their mistake and took care of the duo’s treatment. The injured were rushed to the Assam Medical College & Hospital in Dibrugarh and their condition is stable, an army official said.
Of late, the district has seen increased militant activities, especially by the NSCN factions.
Last month, two NSCN (IM) cadres were killed and another injured in counter-insurgency operations by police and Assam Rifles personnel near Khonsa and a huge cache of arms were recovered from the area. On Friday, five members of the NSCN (IM), NSCN (U) and NSCN (K-YA) had surrendered before security forces in Tirap district.
Tirap shares borders with Assam, Nagaland and Myanmar besides Changlang and Longding. But the site of the incident is not near the Myanmar border, police said. It is over 340km from Itnagar.
This is the second time since the December 4 Oting massacre that civilians have been victims of in counter-insurgency operations conducted on credible intelligence. Altogether 14 civilians were killed in Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district, triggering sustained demand for the repeal of the “draconian” AFSPA from the region.
The Centre on April 1 reduced the ambit of the controversial central law in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur because of the improved security scenario.
The AFSPA was enacted by Parliament in 1958 to give the security forces special powers to deal with the Naga insurgency.
Reacting to the Centre’s move to reduce the AFSPA ambit, North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) president Samuel B Jyrwa had told The Telegraph: “As it has been a long demand of the NESO, we welcome this withdrawal of AFSPA from some areas in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur but NESO is demanding total withdrawal of this draconian law.”
NESO has eight leading student organisations of the region, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), as its members.
However, Friday night’s botched operation will see the anti-AFSPA brigade press for the repeal of the law. Those opposed to the law assert that instead of curbing insurgency it has only fanned insurgency.