One civilian was killed and another injured when Armymen opened fire following a law and order situation at Pumao village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Longding district Saturday, government officials said. The Army has, however, claimed that insurgents used a human shield to fire at their men.
In a written statement to The Indian Express, Cheshta Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Longding, said that on Saturday afternoon the troops of the 19th Sikh regiment stationed at Pumao “was negotiating with the villagers about the beating of one individual named Jingmoh Wangnow”.
During the negotiation, Yadav said, the Armymen were surrounded by villagers. “Fearing a law and order situation they came out of the house and got back into their vehicles. They were trying to leave during which they were stopped by women of the village,” the DC said.
“Meanwhile, certain youth from behind started pelting stones. In response, the Army personnel opened fire,” Yadav said, adding that Lamdam Lukham received a bullet injury in the head and died on the spot. Another person, Wangnai Wangsa, received bullet injury in his leg. Lukham is said to be around 60.
The Indian Army, however, in an official statement said they had launched a search operation in the area following “intelligence inputs regarding movement and activities of NSCN (IM) cadres”.
“There was a gathering of villagers which started protesting against security forces and resorted to stone pelting. Troops identified suspicious movement and started moving towards a house which drew two to three bursts of fire on Indian Army party. Civilians were told to disperse and to safeguard lives and property controlled retaliation was resorted by firing eight single shots,” the Army statement said.
“In all this melee, insurgents managed to escape, however, in this cross-fire it is believed a few villagers have got hurt and one villager has expired. Indian Army offers condolences to the family of the deceased villager,” the statement added.
“Many soldiers of Indian Army also got injured due to stone pelting by supporters of NSCN (IM),” the statement said.
A judicial inquiry has been ordered into the matter. An interim relief of Rs 50,000 to the family of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to the family of the injured has been announced.
Multiple factions of the insurgent outfit NSCN are said to be active in the adjoining border districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding which is surrounded by Assam, Nagaland and Myanmar.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines