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Oting Killing, field investigation completed: SIT

SIT press conf

Final report after forensic science findings are completed

KOHIMA, JANUARY 13: The Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the Nagaland Government to inquire into the December 4 and 5 killing of 14 innocent civilians by security forces in Mon district, is awaiting the forensic science reports before preparing the final report to be submitted to the court.
Briefing media on the preliminary investigation into the Mon killing, where 14 civilians, including 6 coal mine workers were gunned down by the security forces, Nagaland Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) Sandeep Tamgadge said following the army operations, which led to killing of 6 coal mine workers and 7 other villagers in Oting-Tiru area of Mon district on December 4 and another civilian on December 5 in Mon Town, initially a suo moto cases was registered in Tizit police station Mon.
Tamgadge is the overall supervisor of SIT.
On December 5, the State Government constituted the SIT and the case was transferred to the State Crime Police Station, Kohima, with one month time to complete the investigation, he said.
On conducting the investigation, the SIT co-opted more members and ultimately the SIT was made up of 21 officers with IGP (Range) Limasunep Jamir as Chief Investigating Officer (CIO) and also included 4 officers from the Konyak community.
The SIT was further divided into 8 teams out of which 4 teams were given the task of examining the witnesses and the injured victims in the 3 incidents while 1 team was tasked with the responsibility of cyber technical analysis, another with comparison of the documents, 1 team to purely study the incident site and collect evidences, compile and send for forensic analysis while 1 team was tasked to coordinate with various forensics.
He said in the last more than one month, the SIT has visited the scene of crime on multiple occasions, while the team has collected a lot of material evidence in the form of empty ammunition and other materials.
The team has also collected the unmanipulated videos of the incident.
“We have forwarded the exhibits, soil and blood samples to the Central Forensic Science Laboratories in Guwahati and Hyderabad and the report is awaited,” he said.
The SIT has examined more than 85 civilians, including the 2 surviving victims undergoing treatment in Dibrugarh, Assam, and also other injured people being treated in Dimapur and Mon hospitals as well the Oting villagers besides Government officials, he said.
He also informed that the SIT issued notices to the army officials under Section 91 for collection of the documents including the names of the army personnel who were part of the operations and accordingly examined 37 various officers and other ranks of the army and Assam Rifles.
This includes recording of the 31 army personnel involved in the operation in Oting-Tiru area, he said.
Tamgadge maintained that the army and security forces have been cooperative with the SIT. The operation in Oting was carried by 31 personnel, led by a Major rank officer, and 2 JCOs.
Asked if those involved in the operations have been put under suspension as demanded by various Naga civil societies, Tamgadge said the operational teams have been attached to their (army) court of inquiry.
“The field investigation in the form of recording the statements of the victims and witnesses is over while the forensics are under process”, he said while informing that the forensic reports from Guwahati and Hyderabad are awaited.
“As soon as we receive the reports, we will start preparing the final reports, which will be submitted to the court”, he said.
Asked if the report would be made public, he said “legally it is not be tenable”, adding that the SIT is supposed to submit the result of the investigation only with the court.
“We have worked against time to complete the investigation and we have managed to reach this far, but it would be difficult to say how long the forensic labs will take, but we have made a special request to them to expedite the scientific analysis considering the sensitivity of the case”, he said.
He asserted that the main motive of the SIT was to conduct the investigation in a very professional manner so that the evidence can stand all odds in the court, he affirmed.
Asked if the SIT would expose some of the major findings, he said the team is answerable to the court, adding that the team has collected a sizable amount of documents and examined all the members of the army operations.
It is a matter of the forensic science laboratory reports, which will be corroborative resources and once the final report is placed with the Court all can have the access, said the ADG (Law & Order).
(Page News Service)