Sun, 11 Apr 2021

New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) India on Wednesday issued a notice to the Union Ministry of Defence to cite a reason why Rs 5 lakh could not be paid as relief to the next of the kin of an innocent citizen Thingtu Ngemu, who died in the uninformed and indiscriminate firing by the Army unit of 21 Para Special Forces during an operation against Naxalites in Arunachal Pradesh in 2017.

According to a statement issued by NHRC on Friday, the Commission has communicated that the case needs to be treated as special because the Judicial Enquiry Magistrate has held that the PSF personnel are responsible for the death of an innocent citizen.

The Commission has also emphasized that if the Defence Ministry pays the relief amount to the victim's family on the basis of its show cause notice in such cases, it will send positive signals amongst the locals and the credibility of the Armed Forces shall also improve. The response is expected within four weeks.

The Commission had registered the case on June 29, 2017, on the basis of intimation from the Superintendent of Police of Arunachal Pradesh's Changland, regarding the death of Thingtu Ngemu during an action by the security forces against naxalites in Nantok circle District Changlang.

Subsequently, the Commission through its Investigation Division found that the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, District Changlang, had conducted the enquiry in the matter. It is recorded, in his report that the PSF personnel neither cooperated nor submitted any statements regarding the operation despite official letters and request of the Enquiry Magistrate.

After considering the relevant evidences, the Judicial enquiry officer found that the Army Unit of 21 Para Special Forces (PSF) of Jorhat had laid ambush within the reachable range of civilian/villagers, without any knowledge of local civil police or villagers, which was undesirable and dangerous for the inhabitants. Further, the PSF personnel detained a local innocent villager Tuwang Ngemu till late night without any reason, while he was returning from his own garden. He should have been allowed to go home after ascertaining his identity.

As a result, the other villagers and family members came towards the forest in search of Tuwang Ngemu. The PSF should have used night vision glasses/equipment to see through the dark night hours and should have identified innocent empty handed villagers. They should have also heard the shouts of the villagers, who were searching their man, who was already detained by the PSF. Instead they resorted to blind firing without any provocation, which led to the killing of an innocent villager under the pretext of "mistaken identity".

The enquiry Magistrate has also reported that the PSF continued firing indiscriminately from one side till 3 am of next morning of June 15, 2017 without any retaliation or any cross-firing from anywhere. Such a blunder and irresponsible action is unjustified.

Holding the PSF personnel responsible for the death of Thingtu Ngemu, the enquiry magistrate noted that the victim was innocent and had no connection with any outfit. The deceased is survived by his old ailing parents, wife and two small children. He was the primary bread earner and now the family has no source of livelihood.

Based on the analysis and inputs of the facts by its Investigation Division, the Commission, U/s 19 of PHR Act, has issued the show cause notice why the victim's family should not be paid the monetary relief. (ANI)

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