India holds funeral rite for 15 civilians killed by security forces

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India has held funeral rites for 15 civilians mistakenly killed by its security forces in the northeastern state of Nagaland, amid intense security aimed at damping fresh unrest in the remote region.

Security and government officials said, 14 members of the region’s predominant Konyak tribe and one security trooper were killed on Saturday after forces in the border state mistook a group of labourers for armed fighters and opened fire.

Another member of the tribe was killed during protests on Sunday over the military action, prompting the government to launch an inquiry, while police and officials ramped up patrols ahead of the last rites.

Hundreds of mourners laid wreaths on the coffins of the dead, lined up on a public playground, as the state’s Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio led a mass funeral service in the district of Mon, the site of the incident.

“The killing of innocent civilians is terrorism. We are Indians, not terrorists,” read a placard nearby.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah is set to make a statement in Parliament on Monday about security in Nagaland, where hundreds of security forces with automatic weapons continue to patrol the restive Mon district.

The Indian army has expressed deep regret over the intelligence lapse but state residents have demanded a shutdown of its operations, with camps being moved out of civilian areas.

Police registered a complaint against a paramilitary unit over the incident, saying there had been no police guide nor a request for one from security forces.

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Kamila/Al-Jazeera

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