New Delhi: Hitting out at the Centre over the Nagaland firing incident earlier this month, the Congress on Sunday demanded Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation, compensation to the victims and an independent probe headed by a sitting Guwahati High Court judge.
The Opposition party made the demands after a delegation, comprising Congress general secretary Jitendra Singh, the party’s Nagaland in-charge Ajoy Kumar and MP Gaurav Gogoi, visited the Dibrugarh Medical College to interact with the relatives of those injured earlier this month in the aftermath of the incident, and submitted a report to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Kumar held a press conference here and shared the findings and contents of the report submitted to Gandhi in connection with the incident in Nagaland’s Mon district in which security forces opened fire on civilians, killing 14 and injuring 11 more in three consecutive episodes, the first of which was a case of mistaken identity. One soldier also died in rioting which followed.
Expressing regret over the Nagaland firing incident, Home Minister Shah had said in Parliament that a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) will be completed within a month and asserted that all agencies must ensure such happenings do not recur while taking action against insurgents.
In its report, the Congress delegation demanded Shah’s resignation, alleging that the incident in Nagaland is a continuation of the “failed policy” of the BJP government in the North-East.
“This unfortunate episode once again displayed a massive intelligence failure and therefore, a failure of the home ministry. In addition to this, the home minister was addressing political gatherings in Rajasthan rather than giving the situation in Nagaland its due attention, another example of the step child treatment the government has shown towards the North East,” the report alleged.
Kumar accused Shah of making false statements and “lying” in Lok Sabha, alleging that his remarks were “contradictory and full of untruths” when tested against the information available on the ground.
Kumar said people were fired upon without warning.
He also demanded that the victims of the violence in Mon should be compensated by the central government and the family of the deceased should be given compensation of Rs 1 crore and a job with the government.
The injured may be awarded compensation of at least Rs 10 lakhs, he said.
In its report, the party demanded an independent probe by a sitting Guwahati High Court judge.
“The SIT that has been announced by the government of Nagaland is an eyewash and the Congress party believes that no meaningful resolution is possible as evidenced by the government’s false statements in the aftermath of the incident in Mon,” the report said.
The Congress demands that a commission of inquiry headed by a sitting judge of the Guwahati High Court immediately be set up as such an independent committee will enable the country to understand the true events that transpired on December 4-5, the party report said.
The report by the Congress delegation said they were pressured to take the flight back to Delhi/Calcutta and to abandon their plan to visit the families of the victims of the violence.
However, the three members of the delegation refused to give in and sat on a dharna at the Jorhat airport, it said.
In the meantime, Nagaland Congress president issued a video statement on social media condemning the delegation being barred from visiting the families of the victims and the injured, the report said.
After being on dharna at the Jorhat airport for hours and subsequently on getting information that the injured in the incident were being treated at the Dibrugarh Medical College, the members of the delegation insisted that they be at least allowed to proceed to Dibrugarh and meet the families of the injured, it said.
After a four-hour standoff, the delegation was finally given permission to travel to Dibrugarh Medical College to visit the injured, the report said.
At the hospital, it was immediately clear on interacting with family members of the injured that they were afraid of interacting with Opposition leaders as they had been “warned from doing so by both Assam Police and Nagaland Police”, it said.