Hundreds of locals gather to bury 14 coal miners killed by an elite military commando unit in Nagaland, India, after the forces in the border state mistook a group of labourers for militants and opened fire.

Members of the tribal groups who attended the funeral said the incident exposed flaws in the army's intelligence gathering techniques and they should be punished.
Members of the tribal groups who attended the funeral said the incident exposed flaws in the army's intelligence gathering techniques and they should be punished. (AFP)

Hundreds of mourners have defied a curfew to bury 14 civilians shot dead by the Indian army during a botched ambush and confrontation with a crowd angered by the attack.

The mass of locals carried the victims' coffins to a public ground in Mon district of Nagaland to conduct prayers on Monday, ignoring a round-the-clock curfew and internet blackout imposed after the violence.

The mourners were later joined by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who has slammed the military over the killings and ordered an investigation.

Street protests across the state also continued for a second day on Monday, the morning after a candlelight march for the victims in state capital Kohima.

A police source said that the situation was "tense but under control".

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'A case of mistaken identity'

An elite military commando unit shot dead six coal miners returning to their homes in remote northeastern Nagaland state on Saturday, believing they were targeting insurgents.

Another eight people were killed by the troops when they were confronted by a furious crowd, with a soldier also killed and a military vehicle set alight.

The coal miners were killed by troops in a case of mistaken identity, India's home minister Amit Shah told parliament on Monday.

India's army has said the miners were killed after they laid an ambush following "credible intelligence" of an armed insurgent group moving in the area.

At least two other protesters were shot dead and another 10 injured on Sunday after an angry crowd attacked and set alight an army installation in the region.

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'Draconian law'

Nagaland and other states in northeast India have seen decades of unrest among ethnic and separatist groups.

Over the years insurgency has waned, but a large Indian garrison remains stationed in the region.

Rio, the Nagaland chief minister, demanded New Delhi revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that grants troops impunity along with the powers to conduct arbitrary arrests and raids.

"India is the biggest democratic country in the world. This is a draconian law. So it should be removed from our country," Rio said.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies