Households across six districts of eastern Nagaland hoisted black flags on Sunday to mark a year of the killing of 14 people in a botched Army operation and resultant violence, in Mon district on December 4 and 5, 2021, respectively.
A soldier was also killed when the villagers retaliated.
Every house and public place sported a black flag following a call by the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the apex body of seven tribes across six districts, to observe December 4 and 5 as ‘black days’. The six districts comprising the region are Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator and Tuensang.
“The world may forget but we remember how you were killed by the Indian 21 Para Special Force on this day,” the posters put up at Oting village read. The residents gathered for a programme at the village’s public ground demanding justice for the families of the victims.
The Army commandos had shot six Oting villagers in a pick-up van on their way home from a coal mine at Tiru nearby, “mistaking” them for extremists. Eight others, including a soldier and a resident from the neighbouring Upper Tiru village, were killed when the angry villagers retaliated.
Another person was killed in firing at Mon, about 65 km from Oting, when a mob tried to storm an Assam Rifles camp.
“We carried out a candlelight vigil remembering the lives lost at the Konyak Community Centre (in Dimapur) and lamenting the denial of justice to the families of the victims. Special prayers will be held on Monday apart from the black flag protest,” H.A. Hongnao Konyak, the vice-president of Konyak Union said.
The union represents the Konyaks, the Naga tribe the slain men belonged to.
The protestors demanded the prosecution of 30 soldiers, including a Major, who were charge-sheeted by the Nagaland government’s Special Investigation Team for the Oting incident.