Kashmir-Like Operation in ‘Peaceful’ Nagaland May Affect Security Forces’ Relations with Locals

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While the Indian Army’s botched operation in Nagaland that led to the death of 14 civilians, the police and human rights body say the incident is an exception to the issue of law and order in the state that remains rather “peaceful”. The only concern, however, for security forces is extortion and illegal toll collection by militant organisations.

Nagaland’s Mon district, where the firing took place, connects Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar and hardly witnesses any major crime. The local police have registered around two dozen cases of murder, rape and theft in the district.

According to the Nagaland police, the state on an average registers almost 1,200 cases every year in all police stations and 600 cases under special or local laws.

“The area and the state remain peaceful. There is hardly any confrontation between the security forces and locals. Though the area is famous for extortion, no such incident has taken place in the past,” MP Nathanael, former IG CRPF who served in this zone, told News18.

He further said, “There is no hard task for the forces like in Jammu and Kashmir or Red zone but the army conducting operation just like Kashmir would certainly dent the relation with locals and administration.

The NHRC data shows zero case of encounter or brutality or killings by forces linked to civilians in the past five years in Nagaland.

Similarly, the NCRB data shows that Nagaland remains a peaceful place and has never seen encounter killings of civilians by security forces or police in the recent past. In fact, in the last five years, no one has been injured during police encounters or operations in Nagaland, the data showed.

“The only concern for the security forces in the area is extortion and illegal toll collection. Though, it doesn’t create any major law and order issue. The area where the incident has been reported is very strategic as it connects neighbouring states as well as Maynmar which is a shelter for militant outfits. But forces never saw any confrontation with locals even when Nagaland is the only state which has surplus police, above than the sanctioned post,” a senior Assam Rifles official said who has served in the area.

Nagaland has the second-lowest crime rate (after Ladakh) among all states and UTs in India, according to NCRB. The state registered zero case of rioting and dacoity last year.

In this failed ambush, the NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance and issued notices to the central government as well as the state administration.

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