Kohima: The army has agreed to give access to Nagaland’s Special Investigation Team, or SIT, to examine and record the statements of officers and jawans who were involved in an ambush that went horribly wrong on December 4, which claimed the lives of 14 civilians, police sources have said. A soldier died in a subsequent attack by villagers, who surrounded the jawans in anger.
The Nagaland SIT is likely to complete recording the statements of the 21 Para Special Forces soldiers this week, top police sources said. It’s not yet clear if the soldiers will be interrogated by the SIT or they will only submit prepared statements.
The Nagaland SIT has been expanded from eight members to 22 officers to speed up the probe, police sources said, adding the bigger team includes five Indian Police Service officers. The SIT has been further divided into seven teams.
It is also not clear how the probe by the state-level team will proceed since Nagaland is under the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA, which protects security forces from persecution without the centre’s sanction.
A separate army team that is part of the army’s court of inquiry is already in Nagaland. The court of inquiry team headed by a Major General visited Oting village today and inspected the site to understand the circumstances in which the incident could have happened, the army said in a statement.
The team also took along witnesses for better understanding of the situation and how events would have unfolded, the army said, adding that subsequently the team went to a police station at Mon district to meet with people about information on the incident.
Earlier, the army had requested twice, through public notices, regarding anyone having information to directly share it, either by being present before the team at the police station or sharing any input like photo or video related to the incident.