Indian security personnel murdered 13 civilians in the northeastern state of Nagaland on Sunday, authorities said, after firing on a truck and then shooting at a crowd assembled to protest the attack.
On Saturday afternoon, troops shot and killed six laborers returning to their houses in Mon district, close the Myanmar border, after setting up an ambush for suspected militants in the region.
After discovering the bodies, family members and townspeople searched for the missing guys and challenged the army.
"This is where the two sides clashed, and security personnel opened fire, killing seven additional people," Nagaland police officer Sandeep M. Tamgadge told AFP.
Tamgadge described the district's situation as "extremely tense right now," with nine additional civilians injured in the second incident being treated in local hospitals.
The Indian army claimed that one of its soldiers was killed, and an unidentified number of troops were wounded during the clash.
According to the statement, soldiers were acting on "credible intelligence" that rebels were active in the region and had set up an ambush to intercept them.
"The circumstances surrounding the tragic loss of life are being investigated at the highest level, and appropriate action will be taken in accordance with the law," the statement read.
– 'Peace appeal' –
Neiphiu Rio, the Nagaland Chief Minister, urged for calm and announced a probe into the incident.
"The unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of civilians in Oting, Mon is completely unacceptable," he wrote on Twitter. "All sections make a plea for peace."
Mon district is approximately 220 miles (350 kilometers) from Nagaland's capital Kohima and is accessible via poorly maintained roads for more than a day.
Senior state, police, and army officials have arrived in the district to conduct an investigation; an unnamed senior state government official told AFP.
Amit Shah, India's home minister, expressed remorse for the incident and stated that the state investigation would "ensure justice for the bereaved families."
Nagaland and other northeastern Indian provinces, connected to the rest of the country by a thin land corridor, have experienced decades of instability from ethnic and separatist parties.
Numerous tribal communities and tiny guerrilla armies inhabit the region, with aspirations ranging from increased autonomy to secession from India.
In recent years, the insurgency has decreased since numerous factions have struck deals with New Delhi for increased authority, although a sizable Indian army remains stationed in the region.