Amidst the tension that built up after Thursday’s incident, NSCN (I-M) has now accused Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) joint secretary (North East), Shambhu Singh of trying to derail cease-fire between the Government of India and NSCN (I-M).
At a joint meeting with civil societies at NSCN (I-M) designated camp Hebron, NSCN leaders Saturday alleged that Shambhu Singh of “feeding” Prime Minister’s office at Delhi with inputs against the Nagas in the interest of Meiteis and himself so that he could become the chief secretary of Manipur.
“For Shambu Singh, cease fire and Naga solution is not important, his interest lies in becoming the chief secretary of Manipur and this is all set up by Shambu Singh” alleged NSCN (I-M) leaders.
They also alleged there were unconfirmed reports that Singh was in contact with 29 AR but added that so far the reports could not be ascertained.
Pointing out that cease-fire ground rules (CFGR) were violated by Assam Rifles (AR), NSCN (I-M) said that AR was now creating a “situation” all over Naga inhabited areas which has clearly shown their ulterior plan. Alleging that AR did not come to Hebron by mistake but with a motive, NSCN (IM) said that “cordoning off” designated camps were not for the seized arms by NSCN (I-M) but AR has all along planned it.
Asserting that releasing of arms was “secondary”, NSCN (I-M) said that the issue now was implementation of CFGR in practice by AR saying that there were many instances where AR have not followed the ground rules. “Even if the arms are exchanged, tomorrow the AR would not respect CFGR so now we doubt their intention” said one of the NSCN (IM) leaders.
NSCN (I-M) then alleged that in the guise of cease-fire AR have been raiding the private residents of the “national workers” and had taken away arms belonging to “identity card holders”.
Pointing out that the violation of CFGR by AR has been raised many times in cease-fire meetings, NSCN (I-M) leaders said that even after the assurance of CFMG chairman to return the seized arms of NSCN (I-M), so far not a single arm of NSCN have been released while asking the latter to release arms seized from AR.
NSCN (I-M) leaders further alleged CFMG chairman Maj Gen (Retd) N. George of being “biased” alleging that the chairman was acting on behalf of AR wherein he was meant to be the moderator between the Government of India and NSCN.
Maintaining that NSCN (I-M) was hoping for something positive to come out of the cease-fire, the leaders said that with these incidents the Government of India has shown that they were not thinking the same way. NSCN (I-M) leaders then alleged the Government of India was of the view that Naga people were not in support of NSCN and hence “cordoned off” their designated camps so that they would “surrender”. “Even if they destroy NSCN, the problem does not get solved there because this is the issue of Nagas” said one of the NSCN (IM) leaders.
Orgs ask NSCN (I-M) leaders to be transparent
Meanwhile, Naga Hoho (NH), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Naga Women Hoho Dimapur (NWHD), Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and Naga Council Dimapur (NCD), Saturday held a meeting with NSCN (I-M) leaders at Hebron designated camp where many of the leaders of the civil societies raised the need for transparency in the ongoing political talks between Government of India and NSCN (I-M).
Many of the representatives were of the view that still Nagas were in the dark on the status of the “talks” and that it was essential for the leaders to make it transparent to the people to achieve a solution that was acceptable to all. Asserting that cease-fire was not heading the “right direction”, the representatives said that for proper implementation of CFGR both NSCN and AR should respect each other’s rights.
Delegates of NH who met the CFMG chairman Maj Gen (Retd) N. George, earlier in the morning, said that they had asked the chairman to release the arms and ammunition of NSCN (I-M) that were seized by AR including those belonging to “card holders”. The delegates said that the CFMG chairman has assured that the arms belonging to NSCN (I-M) card holders would be released.
Further, the delegates said that they have made it known to CFMG chairman that AR has committed “unlawful” activity and has violated the CFGR continuously adding that if the NSCN (I-M)’s arms were released the tension could be subsided. It was also learnt that NHD had a meeting with CFMG chairman later in the afternoon.
Later after the meeting, NSF delegate said that the federation was “unhappy” over the “actions” of AR saying that the federation would not “tolerate” it. Expressing displeasure over the “reinforcement” of AR around the NSCN (I-M) designated camps, NSF said it would take up the issue “seriously”. The federation further stated that only after a consultative meeting with public a “best solution” could come out for the situation.
When contacted, CFMG chairman confirmed the meeting with NH and NHD but declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting however he disclosed that a “proposal” has been sent to Hebron through NH for which he felt that NSCN (I-M) leaders at Hebron would be awaiting “formal confirmation” from their leaders who were in Delhi for talks.
AR says peace shall prevail
Assam Rifles (AR) Saturday reassured that the people of Nagaland “irrespective of the provocations and false allegations” that peace shall prevail in the state.
In a statement, PRO IGAR (N), Kohima said AR was committed to preserve “peace and harmony” in the state. The statement added that the people “must realize” that the hard earned gains made in the ongoing peace process could not be “lost at any cost”.
Stating that AR have come too far “to retrace our footsteps”, PRO said that everyone realizes that the current impasse has been “enforced” upon them and that despite “grave provocations”, they would continue to conduct operations in a manner so as to live up to AR’s motto — “the friends of the hill people”.
The statement said that as in the past, AR’s current and future actions would not cause “hindrances or disruption” to the lives of the common law abiding citizens of the state.
PRO said that every law abiding citizen of Nagaland must be reassured of AR’s “undying” commitment to the peace process and the desire to see Nagaland grow from strength to strength and added that in a democracy no individual or cause can be placed above the “will, aspirations and desires of the people”.
The statement further said during this auspicious week of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of NBCC, AR pray to God to continue to shower his blessings on the people of Nagaland.
NSCN (I-M) on April 19 incident
In view of the April 19 incident at Hebron Camp, NSCN (I-M) Saturday said Hebron Camp, as a “designated camp” was known internationally during the 15 years of Indo-Naga political talks, and terming intrusion into the area as “by mistake” would go down as an insult to NSCN (I-M) in particular and to Nagas in general.
In a statement MIP NSCN (I-M) stated that the act of “impropriety” under 29 AR in blatantly violating the ceasefire ground rules and the imbroglio that followed was a matter of regret. It claimed that the observation of any person with political insight would say that Assam Riles was turning out to be the “negation of goodness of ceasefire” without which, no meaningful political talk could take place.
As to who was responsible behind the “foul play”, the MIP questioned if it could be camp commander major Sukanta. It stated that the major was of Meitei origin, “very close” to Manipur chief minister Ibobi Singh, and “naturally” had a very strong anti-NSCN stand. MIP alleged that he (Sukanta) has gone overboard in daring to come so close the gate of Hebron designated camp creating acrimonious relation between NSCN (I-M) and AR.
It also went on to say that the signing of the historic Indo-Naga ceasefire in 1997 with worldwide witness was not done for committing “blatant act of adventurism in the hands of the notorious Assam Riles troops”. The MIP claimed that there was ground to believe that the Assam Rifles had been given “blank cheque” by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to go against NSCN (I-M) under any pretext created for the purpose.
Stating that the present crisis brought about by 29 AR was a living testimony to the world, MIP pointed that the government of India’s interpretation of ceasefire between two entities was becoming more of a mockery than anything else. It said “repeated bulldozing” of ceasefire ground rules by Assam Rifles was never in conformity with the political meaning of ceasefire, adding, the crux of the issue was how the ceasefire ground rules could be arrogated at the whims of AR.
MIP asserted that standing by ceasefire ground rules was not an act of cowardice but that of courage and political maturity. It also claimed that the AR, by “going belligerent in the face of its own folly”, was now showing its combative aggression by resorting to fear psychosis warfare by way of targeting civilian population-risking, interrogating etc during ceasefire period.
Such capricious behavior could not be given political sanction if ceasefire has to go on in the spirit that was signed 15 years back, MIP asserted.
Maintaining that in view of atrocious violation of ceasefire ground rules by combined forces of 20 AR, 29 AR and 32 AR, MIP stated it was now a serious matter for Nagas to accept the situation as a wake up call to ponder over the political design that was going against the aspiration of the people which was built up ever since the Naga political struggle started in the 1940s, and strengthened during the Indo-Naga political talks that took off after signing ceasefire in 1997. NPN