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Amid security forces open firing on civilians killing 13 and injuring 11 more in Nagaland's Mon district in two consecutive incidents of firing, Nagaland Home Commissioner Abhijit Sinha in an attempt to control law and order stated that mobile internet, data services, bulk SMS of all providers in the entire area of Mon district will be prohibited with immediate effect until further notice. 

"Mobile internet/data services/ bulk SMS of all providers in the entire area of Mon district prohibited with immediate effect until further notice," Nagaland Home Commissioner Abhijit Sinha said in an order. 

Reacting to the incident, Home Minister Amit Shah said, "anguished over unfortunate incident in Nagaland’s Oting, Mon. I express my deepest condolences to families of those who have lost their lives. A high-level SIT constituted by State govt will thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families." 

Meanwhile the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio promised a high-level probe into the incident and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain peace. He tweeted, "the unfortunate incident leading to the killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. High-level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections." 

At least 13 civilians were gunned down by security forces in Nagaland's Mon district, police said on Sunday, adding that it is investigating whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity. One soldier also died in the rioting which followed.

The first firing occurred when army personnel who mistook some coal mine workers were returning home in a pick-up van singing songs on Saturday evening, to be insurgents belonging to the Yung Aung faction of proscribed outfit NSCN (K), killing six worker, about whose movements they had been tipped off. 

As workers failed to reach their homes, local youth and villagers went in search of them and surrounded the army vehicles. In the ensuing melee one soldier was killed and army vehicles burnt down. Soldiers who fired in self-defence killed another seven civilians, said police officials. 

Angry mobs have since then on Sunday afternoon vandalised the offices of the Konyak Union and an Assam Rifles camp. The Nagaland government through a notification has banned mobile internet and data services as well as bulk SMS in the district to curb "circulation of inflammatory video's, pictures or text." 

Police said that the post-mortem of the 13 killed is being conducted in Mon and feared that the number of fatalities may increase as at least two of those injured were critical and had to be evacuated to hospitals in Assam while the rest were being treated in Nagaland. 

Ordering a Court of Inquiry into the incident, Army said one of its personnel was killed and several others were seriously injured. It said that the incident and its aftermath is "deeply regretted" and the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level. 

The state government has constituted a five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by IGP Nagaland, officials said. PRO Defence (Kohima) Lt Col Sumit K Sharma said “based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon District, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted." 

An investigation is underway to ascertain whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity, the officer said. Mon shares a porous international border with Myanmar, where the Yung Aung faction of NSCN (K) is based. 

Official sources said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Army Chief Gen M M Naravane have been briefed about the incident. “SIT shall investigate the incident from all angles while a court of inquiry has been instituted against the army personnel involved," Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam and Nagaland said in a statement, while appealing for peace. 

Reacting to the incident, Gandhi however pointed out in a post on social media "This is heart wrenching. GOI must give a real reply. What exactly is the home ministry doing when neither civilians nor security personnel are safe in our own land?" 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed condolences for the families of civilians reportedly killed by security forces in the Mon district of Nagaland.

"Worrisome news from Nagaland. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of those who were injured," Banerjee Tweeted.

"We must ensure a thorough probe into the incident and ensure that all victims get justice!" she added.

In protest against the incident, the Eastern Nagaland People's Organisaiton (ENPO) urged the six tribes of the region to withdraw participation from the ongoing Hornbill Festival, which is the state's biggest tourism extravaganza. 

"While expressing deep sorrow and sadness over the indiscriminate firing by Indian security force where more than 10 daily wage laborers from Oting village were blatantly killed, the ENPO vehemently condemn the barbaric act of the security force," a release issued the organisation said. 

The ENPO asked the six tribes to hoist black flags in their respective Morungs at Hornbill Festival venue Naga Heritage Village in Kisama near the state capital against the incident. 

"It has to be understood by all concerned that this order/move is not against the State Govt., but to show resentment against the security forces who have committed this heinous crime, and to show solidarity of the 6 tribes," it said. 

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