Security personnel involved in Nagaland killing should be brought to book

The killing of 14 villagers by Indian security forces in Nagaland in a cold-blooded murder is highly condemnable. Last Saturday, 14 villagers and a soldier died in Mon district of Nagaland after an army operation to track down insurgents went off-script. A police FIR has said that the army’s 21 Para Special Forces “blankly opened fire” and killed villagers. The whole of Nagaland is still tense and there is simmering anger against the security forces. Both the governments of India and Nagaland have announced to constitute an SIT to investigate the incident.

Despite the announcement, many are not sure whether the army personnel involved in the killing will ever be brought to justice. The Armed Forces (Special Powers Act) or AFSPA, which covers the whole Nagaland state, provides immunity to the Indian Army from any action for their misdeeds. The AFSPA has been rampantly misused by the army in NE states and Kashmir. Also, the army and the government of India have only expressed regret over the incident. They should in fact apologize to the Naga community for the horrific murder.

If not handled properly, this incident can potentially further fuel insurgency in Nagaland. Also, it might derail the Naga peace process. The government of India and the army must make every effort to give justice to the victims. Those responsible for the killing should be brought to justice.