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India: Fresh violence erupts after civilian killings in northeast

Violence in the state of Nagaland escalated a day after security forces killed civilians in a botched counterinsurgency operation. State police have filed a murder case against the army unit.

Indian army soldiers ride past the main town in a convoy in Kohima, capital of northeastern Nagaland state

Security in Nagaland's Mon area has been heightened amid the threat of further violence

Indian security forces on Sunday evening killed a protester in the northeastern state of Nagaland after angry villagers attacked an army camp over the slaying of more than a dozen civilians.

A large crowd of people gathered outside the army's Assam Rifles camp in the border town of Mon, throwing stones and setting fire to areas around the camp. 

Fresh violence broke out hours after security forces gunned down a group of civilians, mistaking them for insurgents, and then shot locals who came to protest the killings.

Protesters reportedly broke into the camp and started damaging and burning buildings.

"The Assam Rifles post at Mon was severely attacked by a mob of more than 300 locals from different sides," the paramilitary force said in a statement, according to local news outlet Northeast Now.

"The troops of Assam Rifles at the post however maintained a high degree of restraint and fired in the air to disperse the crowd," it said.

Assam Rifles is the country's oldest paramilitary force responsible for counterinsurgency operations in the northeast.

Torched vehicles belonging to Indian security forces from Assam Rifles after 13 civilian were killed by Indian security personnel

Locals in the Mon town, angered over the killings, set fire to two army vehicles in protest

Murder case filed

The situation in the state remained tense. Authorities announced an indefinite curfew in the district and shut down mobile internet and data services indefinitely to curb further violence.

In other parts of Nagaland, candlelit marches and vigils were held in solidarity with the gunned-down villagers.

A special investigative team of state police has been formed to probe the incident. The police filed a case against the army unit alleging an "intention… to murder."

"It is to be noted that at the time of (the) incident there was no police guide nor security forces did make requisition to (the) police station to provide police guide for their operation," the police report said, according to broadcaster NDTV. 

"Hence it is obvious that the intention of security forces is to murder and injure civilians."

The state government announced a compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,600, €5,880) each for the families of those killed.

It also announced a funeral service for the victims will be held at sunset on Monday, adding that they would receive "justice as per law of the land."

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adi/jsi (dpa, Reuters)

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