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Two villagers 'mistakenly' shot at by Army in Arunachal

Itanagar/ Dibrugarh: Two civilians were "mistakenly" shot at by the Army in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh, Army sources said on Saturday.

The incident happened at Chasa village on Friday evening when the two villagers, identified as Nokphya Wangdan (28) and Ramwang Wangsu (23), were returning home after fishing in a river, local sources said.

The incident comes months after 14 people were shot dead by the Army in a botched anti-militancy operation in neighbouring Nagaland's Mon district, around 150 km from Tirap. The incident, which happened on December 4-5, had triggered widespread protests, demanding the withdrawal of AFSPA.

The two wounded villagers were sent to the Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) in Dibrugarh by the Army for treatment, the sources said.

"There was credible information about the movement of armed rebels and an ambush was laid by the special forces," an Army source said.

It was a case of mistaken identity, the source said.

AMCH superintendent Dr Prasanta Dihingia said one of the injured was hit by a bullet in the ulna of his hand, while the other's bullet injury was on the toe.Both are currently out of danger, he said. A villager, who accompanied the injured persons to the hospital, told reporters, "Both of them are orphans. Now, one's hand is injured and another's leg is wounded. The government will have to do something for them."

The BJP president of Tirap district, Kamrang Tesia, said that instead of ensuring the security of the locals, the "senseless act" of the security forces without proper intelligence was leading to the loss of their credibility.

On March 21, two suspected insurgents of NSCN-IM were killed and one person injured in an anti-militancy operation near Old Kolagaon village, around 30 km from Khonsa -- the district headquarters of Tirap.

A day later, the NSCN said that of the two people killed, one was its office-bearer, while the other was a civilian.

While Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA was withdrawn from certain parts of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur on Thursday, the Centre on Friday extended the law in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, including Tirap, for another six months till September 30.

The AFSPA empowers security forces with powers to arrest without warrants, search premises, and fire after warning.

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