Army firing in Arunachal
A man who was injured in firing by Army personnel.

NSCN (IM) and NSF on Monday condemned the killing of a 60-year-old civilian Lamdan Lukham and injury to six others in firing by the troops of 19 Sikh Regiment in Arunachal Pradesh recently.

The incident took place at Pumoa village in Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh on May 16.

NSCN (IM) said the incident happened after the Pumoa villagers called a meeting with the 19th Sikh Regiment on May 16 following picking up of two persons of their village, namely, Nokchai Wangsu and Jempho Wangpan, on May 14 and May 15 respectively.

The meeting was also called to discuss the allegation of subsequent “inhuman torture” on the two villagers, the NSCN(IM) said.

As the meeting progressed, the army personnel started leaving and a commotion followed after the villagers stood up in protest against the “indignity”, the ministry of information and publicity of NSCN(IM) said in a statement.

It said some of the infuriating youth started pelting stones at the army personnel.

The personnel under the command of Col D.K. Tiwari of 19 Sikh Regiment retaliated by firing at the villagers, leading to the killing of Lamdan Lukham on the spot and injury to six others, it added.

However, the PRO (defence), in his press release, said the firing by the NSCN led to the melee, the outfit said.

It said, “This is nothing less than a hilarious statement to absolve itself from the criminal assault on innocent villagers.”

NSCN (IM) termed the firing as a “cowardice act of 19 Sikh Regiment” which led to the loss of innocent life.

The outfit saluted the Pumao villagers for standing up for their rights against the alleged brutality of Indian security forces.

It also expressed condolences to the family members of Lukham and all the villagers of Pumoa.

The outfit said it is leaving no stone unturned to make the world hear of the human rights violation in Longding district and other places in Arunachal Pradesh.

It also alleged that the mainstream media more often than not sidelined the human rights issue to be in tune with the Indian military propaganda by ignoring the plight of the Arunachal Pradesh people.

Vehemently condemning the incident, the Nga Students Federation (NSF) said it is distressing to learn that the “men in uniform have not been able to be an exemplary disciplined unit” even during the nationwide lockdown.

In a statement, the Federation said they are “mindlessly indulging in their trigger happy junket” to which another innocent Naga soul had to fall victim to their bullets while many others were injured.

NSF demanded that the central government set up an inquiry committee headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court, who will be empowered to conduct an impartial probe into the matter and bring the culprits to book at the earliest.

The Federation also appealed to the National and State Human Rights Commission as well as the National and State ST Commission to take suo-moto cognizance of the incident and initiate timely proceedings against those responsible.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com