GUWAHATI: Barely 24 hours after a large number of women in the Naga-dominated district of Senapati forced Assam Rifles to free five top NSCN (IM) leaders, the Naga militant outfit on Sunday sought withdrawal of the country’s oldestparamilitary force from Nagaland and Manipur.
Accusing Assam Rifles of violating the ceasefire ground rules, the NSCN (IM) said in a statement that there should be a “serious scrutiny” of the recent activities of the para-military force in the Naga-dominated areas.
The Naga outfit also accused the Centre of unleashing a reign of terror on its cadres despite talking peace with the group at the same time. “If the Assam Riffles personnel are so active and brave, then what are they doing in an `island of peace` like Nagaland? Send them to India`s borders with China or Pakistan,” the outfit stated. “Considering all aspects, the Nagas cannot be treated as terrorists. We never foment trouble in areas of other people. We are only defending our own homeland and will continue to do so till the last drop of our blood. However, nobody should provoke us,” it added.
On Saturday, a group of women forced an Assam Rifles unit to free five top NSCN(I-M) militants, whom the paramilitary force had caught with AK-47s and other sophisticated weapons, in Senapati district. Police said the five rebels were nabbed from the headquarters of the Naga-dominated district on Friday.
Personnel of the 5 Assam Rifles had found some sophisticated weapons — AK-47s, sten guns and a 9 mm pistol — on them. As the personnel of the paramilitary force were about to shift the rebels to Imphal, the women staged a blockade on NH-39 at Ningthoupham village seeking the militants` release. They also blocked the Assam Rifles` convoy carrying the cadre and other vehicles moving along the highway. Later, the agitators gheraoed a post of the paramilitary force at Henbung in the district where the Naga rebels were kept.
Police added that around 1 am on Saturday, Assam Rifles was compelled to free the five militants. TOI