60-year-old civilian killed in alleged Army firing in Arunachal

Itanagar: A 60-year-old civilian was killed and another injured as army personnel allegedly opened fire in Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh during a meeting between security forces and villagers, a senior police officer said.

The Army, however, said its personnel fired in retaliation after NSCN(IM) militants started firing at them from inside a hut in Pumao village and they used a human shield.

Longding Superintendent of Police B R Reddy said a meeting at the premises of the Pumao village head was being held to discuss the alleged beating up of a local youth by army men during his interrogation on Friday in connection with insurgency problems.

“The meeting, however, did not go well. The villagers started pelting the army personnel with stones and they fired in response. One civilian died and another was injured,” Reddy said.

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At least one army man also suffered injuries because of the stone pelting.

The SP said a judicial enquiry has been initiated into the matter.

The version of the Army sources was, however, different.

They said according to intelligence inputs, a resident of Pumao was helping an NSCN (IM) rebel who also belongs to the village.

The village chief was called to ascertain the facts about the presence of militants in Pumao but his behaviour too was suspicious, the sources said, adding that two teams of police and the Army went to Pumao.

“On seeing the Army personnel, the villagers supporting the underground cadre started throwing stones injuring one officer. The troops, however, continued to advance towards a hut and tried to cordon it.

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When a group of men blocked their way, militants fired from within the hut towards the army personnel. They took cover and fired back eight rounds towards the hut and in the shootout, one civilian died and three others injured,” a source said.

The North East Humans Right Organization (NEHRO) filed two complaints before the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) against the Army in this connection.

Students’ organisations of the state also condemned the incident.

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