Mokokchung, July 20 (MTNews): The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings against 30 army personnel booked by Nagaland police in connection with the killing of 14 civilians in Oting village of Mon district on December 4, 2021.


The ruling was made in response to two petitions, including the one from Major Ankush Gupta’s wife. Major Gupta was one of the 30 Army officers detained by the Nagaland Police, and the case was heard by a bench consisting of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V. Ramasubramanian.


The petition filed through Advocate Astha Sharma sought the revocation of the relevant first information report (FIR), the findings and recommendations of the state government-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), and all other ancillary proceedings arising from the December incident, including the complaint filed by the National Human Rights Commission.


The apex court remarked during the hearing that the death of a paratrooper during the event had not yet been investigated.


A contingent of the Indian Army’s counter-insurgency unit opened fire on some coal mine employees heading home in a pick-up vehicle. Following an intelligence lapse, Army soldiers mistook the villagers of Oting for insurgents.


The Army troops had been the subject of a complaint from the National Human Rights Commission. Additionally, a special investigation team was formed by the Nagaland Police to look into the event, and following their investigation, submitted a chargesheet against the 30 army men.


The Nagaland government then sought the Union government’s approval to take action against the people included in the chargesheet.



The petitioner submitted that officials were only “performing their bonafide duties as directed by the Union of India, but the SIT so constituted to conduct a free and impartial investigation into the said incident has acted in a completely arbitrary, unilateral and illegal manner, by picking and choosing the evidence available before it to appease the public outcry and to assuage the concerns of the chosen few.”


It was argued that the SIT concluded the inquiry to appease a section of society on the basis of a “lopsided investigation” by attributing criminality to the accused ‘in its zest’.


The plea accused the SIT and State functionaries of having turned a blind eye to the safety of the accused and their family members by revealing their personal information. Further, they alleged that intelligence received by the accused was not taken cognizance of.


It further pointed out that despite being personnel protected by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Army Act, they are being proceeded against under the Criminal Procedure Code instead.

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