Nagaland civilian killings: SIT unlikely to finish inquiry by January 5

Express News Service

GUWAHATI:  It appears unlikely that the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the December 4 killing of 14 civilians by Indian Army in a botched ambush at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district, can complete the investigation on time.

It was given a month by the Nagaland government to complete the probe. The deadline expires on January 5. A senior Nagaland Police official privy to the investigation virtually ruled out the possibility, stating that the police get 90 days to file a charge sheet in court. He cited the gamut of the probe, pointing at the involvement of various stake-holders at different levels.

The state government has already expanded the SIT that was formed with five officers on December 5. Around 16 or 17 others were co-opted in due course, taking its strength to 21-22. The team includes five IPS officers, the official said.

An undated order, issued by Addl DGP (Law and Order) Sandeep M Tamgadge, said that the officers co-opted would work under a team. The SIT has so far examined 55-60 witnesses and will examine more people.

“We have taken help of cyber, forensic and ballistics experts from all over the country. We are conducting the investigation in a very professional, serious and sincere manner,” the official said. Members of a National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology team aiding the SIT are examining data including videos and photographs related to the tragic incident, sources said.

Meanwhile, an Army team probing the incident is scheduled to visit Oting on Wednesday. However, the Konyak (tribe) civil society organisations made it clear that the personnel should not come in uniform or with arms. As such, Nagaland Police will escort the team, the sources said.

On December 10, the Konyak organisations had served a 30-day ultimatum demanding that those involved in the killings of civillians be booked and the action taken report brought in public domain.