Mon killings: Army promises action against erring personnel

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Army on Monday said action as per the Army Act would be taken against any solders found to have committed lapses during the December 4, 2021 botched ambush at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district that left 13 civilians and an Army jawan dead.

The Army’s Eastern Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita said the Army court of enquiry was completed and the report was being examined.

“We also received the report of the Special Investigation Team constituted by the Nagaland government. Both the reports are being analysed to identify the lapses that have taken place during the conduct of the operation,” Gen Kalita told journalists in Guwahati.

“Let me assure you that any fault which we identify, requisite action will be taken against those individuals irrespective of their ranks or who they are,” he said.

The senior Army officer, who hails from Assam, said the Army was conscious of the fact that there had been an increase in recruitment by the Paresh Baruah faction of insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent or ULFA-I. He said not only the youth from upper Assam but also from lower Assam were joining the militant organisation.

“Most of these recruitments have taken place through the social media where they were motivated. I was given to understand most of them have a criminal background,” Gen Kalita said.

But violence has no place in any society and resorting to violence to resolve any issue is not the way, he said.

Talking about the situation on the China border, he said since it had not been demarcated, it often leads to perception differences.

“But we have mechanisms in place in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and protocols to defuse tension and work towards peace along the LAC (line of actual control),” Gen Kalita said.

China has developed a lot of infrastructure in Tibet which includes the construction of railway line that connects Lhasa to Chinese heartland. They have also constructed a lot of highways, certain roads in forward areas which connect the passes along the LAC, upgraded airports and helipads while additional areas have been taken to ensure the stationing of more aircraft and helicopters, he said.

“One reason of concern for us is some villages, which are located close to the LAC, have the possibility of dual use. They can be used for civilians as well as to mobilise troops to the forward areas,” the Army officer said.

They have also developed their communication infrastructure. There is the availability of 5G mobile connectivity. All these infrastructure developments give them the capability to mobilise troops from the camps in a shorter time, he said.

“So, we all are conscious of this factor and requisite steps are being taken to develop infrastructure. One of the challenges for us is inclement weather and difficult terrain. The Himalayan mountains on our side are quite unstable and prone to landslides during monsoon. Then, during winter, there is heavy snowfall all along the LAC which leaves us with limited working period,” Gen Kalita said.

He said there is a shortage of people to work in those areas. What compounded the problem is that people from outside are not willing to come and work there while there is outmigration of the border villagers to plains areas.

Over the past few years, hundreds of villagers have moved to towns and other areas in Arunachal in search of a better future.