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NHRC issues show cause notice to Defence Ministry over relief amount for kin of civilian killed in firing

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a show cause notice to the defence ministry over relief amount of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of Thingtu Ngemu, an Arunachal resident who died in Army firing during an operation in Arunachal Pradesh‘s Changlang in 2017.

The commission has communicated that the incident needs to be treated as a special case because the Judicial Enquiry Magistrate has held that the PSF personnel responsible for the death of an innocent citizen.

The commission also emphasised that if the Defence Ministry pays the relief amount to the victim’s family on the basis of its show cause notice, 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 registered the case on June 29, 2017. Subsequently, the commission, through its investigation division found that the district judicial Magistrate’s in his inquiry report recorded that the PSF personnel neither cooperated nor submitted any statements regarding the operation despite official letters & requests.

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 15/6/2017 without any retaliation or any cross-firing from anywhere. Such a blunder and irresponsible action is unjustified.

NHRC stated that holding the PSF personnel responsible for the death of Thingtu Ngemu, the enquiry magistrate noted that the victim was an innocent and had no connection with any outfit. The deceased is survived by his old ailing parents, wife & two small children. He was the primary bread earner & 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.

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