Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande said the investigation into the December 4 firing incident in Nagaland’s Mon district has been completed and the report is now undergoing legal scrutiny.
In an interaction with a group of journalists, he also suggested that standard operating procedures and drills could be refined based on the findings of the report.
The botched counter-insurgency operation at Oting village in Mon district of Nagaland claimed the lives of 14 civilians and it triggered a massive public outcry in the state.
The Army had ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. The probe team was headed by a Major General.
“The investigation into the Mon incident has been completed. The report has been submitted and presently the legal scrutiny of the report is taking place,” Gen Pande said.
“Just like in the past, if we find some personnel who have not followed the standard operating procedures and guidelines, action as per the due process of military law will be taken,” he said.
The Army chief indicated that the report delved into aspects such as a revision of the standard operating procedures and refining the drills.
“It is all part of the report,” he said when asked whether the Army is changing any SOP. Gen Pande suggested that the process of addressing shortcomings would be based on the findings of the report.
“Some of it has already happened,” he said.
It may be recalled that while expressing regret over the incident in Nagaland in which civilians were killed by security personnel, Union Home Minister Amit Shah informed Parliament that “a team of 21 para-commandos of Indian Army laid an ambush” for insurgents in Mon district on December 4 evening but “it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity”.
He said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted and directed to complete the investigation within one month. The situation, he said, was “reviewed in detail to ensure that normalcy is restored at the earliest” and all agencies are being told to “ensure that no such unfortunate incident recurs in future while undertaking operations against insurgents”.
In identical statements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Shah said: “The Government of India sincerely regrets this unfortunate incident in Nagaland and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives.”