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Christmas gloomy for Oting village residents; 12 slain remembered

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KOHIMA: Despite Christmas, the pall of gloom in Nagaland’s Oting village refused to lift as villagers continued their mourning for the 12 men killed this month in firing by armed force personnel.

To mark Christmas, Oting villagers organised a midnight prayer – with wreaths and flowers and verses read from the Holy Bible – on Friday at the mass grave where the slain were buried. They also led a march to the site of the tragic incident.

Oting villagers also carried placards demanding justice for those killed, calling for the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Outrage against the controversial act has risen post the incident, with calls for its repealment growing by the day.

On December 4 and 5, troops from the Army’s elite 21 Para SF unit fired on Oting villagers on a truck mistaking them for insurgents.

Meanwhile, a SIT constituted to probe the firing incident that claimed 15 innocent lives, including an Indian Army personnel, has asked residents of Oting to report information from the primary source or any shred of information pertaining to the mishap.

The army is also conducting an inquiry into the killing of civilians by security forces at Oting in Mon district of Nagaland on 4 December.

“It is requested to public at large that any person having any information, including videos, photos from primary source or any other information in original (not forwarded or not from secondary sources) may kindly share via phone or SMS or WhatsApp messenger at +916026930283 or call at army exchange helpline +913742388456. The identity of the informant will be kept confidential on request,” Defence PRO Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande stated in a release.

The original documents/audiovisual recording would be collected from the source after following due legal procedure, he added.

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