Army admitted delay in informing; Meghalaya police
SHILLONG, Nov 28: Amidst public outcry over the killing of two innocent civilians by the Indian army near Kharkutta in North Garo Hills, the embarrassed Goalpara based army unit has ordered a military court of inquiry with a term of reference that it should complete the process by December 1.
The military court of inquiry is being headed by a senior Colonel (his me censored due to security reasons), confirmed the Defence Public Relation officer (DPRO) Lt Colonel S Newton during a telephonic interview with The Sentinel on Saturday.
The terms of reference is to inquire into the circumstances on how the two people were shot at and killed ,stated the Guwahati based Defence PRO even as he stand with his earlier notion that the army unit was acting in the area domiting exercise within the fringes of their domain.
As reported by The Sentinel that the Meghalaya police was not kept in the loop before the so called area domiting exercise was carried out, Lt Colonel Newton said, “This was not a counter insurgency operations but an action to carry on a routine mobile patrol that has been fed through the specific inputs.”
The Meghalaya police is currently feeling the brunt of the killings. The army has even admitted that it’s a case of mistaken identity that led to the killings of Elphius Momin and Sweetbirth Sangma. Both are virtually proclaimed innocence even as the North Garo Hills district administration ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident that sparked anger.
Asked specifically on the incident, the army spokesman said that the army has its own intelligence and the action is based on the AFSPA mandate to take on the terrorist within the areas permitted.
Even as the army is caught within the own trap of it’s own confession, it is literally clear that the web on the overriding powers to go on its own without taking the confidence of the civilian establishments are already in place.
On the other hand, the Meghalaya police today said that army officials has admitted that they had failed to immediately inform the local police of the killing of two civilians, whom the army allegedly claimed that they mistook them as militants at Kharkutta in North Garo Hills district.
“Rather they chose to leave the area leaving the victims behind. The Police team which reached the place of occurrence shifted the victims to the hospital,” GHP Raju, Inspector General of Police Law & Order today said.
Raju also informed that a magisterial enquiry under Section 176 Cr.P.C into the incident has been ordered and will be headed by David D Sangma, Additiol District Magistrate.
“This matter is under magisterial enquiry and police investigation. It is being pursued at senior levels both by the Government of Meghalaya and Meghalaya Police,” Raju informed.
The post mortem was conducted at Mendipathar PHC by a team of two doctors under videography as per instructions of tiol Human Rights Commission.
The dead bodies were subsequently handed over to the relatives and the last rites of the deceased were conducted on Friday.
Meanwhile, NGOs have decided to organise public rally on November 30 at Kharkutta to condemn the incident.