This Republic Day of a great nation has left us to mourn the Oting massacre without justice on perpetrators.
December 11, 2021, the independent fact finding team of Global Naga Forum, Naga Students Federation and Naga Mothers Association visited Tiru coal mines and Oting village, paid our respects to the deceased victims of Indian army atrocities and shared the grief and sorrow of families that night in Oting.
Perched on the sharp ridges of the mountain, the grieving night in Oting was silent and heavy, except for the vesper bell of the village church. Mothers stayed indoors, youth vociferous with the underlying anger of departed friends and village leaders talk of an India and Justice so far away.
As we listened and shared their grief, it was not a story of a great India or its disciplined army that fascinates spectators on its Republic Day. It is a story of a well planned attack on innocent, mining civilians coming home with the week’s earnings from the coal mines nearby in the Tiru valley. It is a story of an Indan army that once again, used its firepower to gun down 13 civilians and injuring dozens in this valley.
Witness to the massacre told us how they caught the army trying to dress up the deceased youth in camouflage, army boots, all indicative of trying to stage a fake encounter story.
The ambush site is an open road, amidst cardamom farms and tall grasses and not in the thick jungles of Myanmar. The Oting ambush is very similar to the Pangsha ambush at ITC Dan area on unarmed cadres and civilians, including two mothers, in broad daylight and the drive of vengeance on civilians, turning these massacres into fake encounters. Some of us from the Naga Mothers are witness to both massacres.
Our only prayer this morning is…
May they all see justice when their cold perpetrators face criminal courts and rulings.
May this country learn to train its armed forces to respect human rights, wherever they may be.
May there be peace, respect and justice in the days ahead as Nagas await a peace accord and a closure to our painful genocidal history.
Remembering you Oting! May your people be comforted that the world is listening now.