Chairman Isak Swu message to the Sumis

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
My dear Sumi brothers and sisters I am writing this message to you in view of the untoward situation prevailing in our homeland today. We believe that human beings are not perfect but we also know that human conditions can be corrected. Right and wrong will occur not only today amongst us but in the midst of this, although it may take time, the correct assessment of all issues is a must. Justice is essential and required by the human society at all times.

The recent incident at Aghuyito village near Zunheboto town on December 21, 2013 was very unfortunate. We are for justice. We are serious and so a Kilonser Team’s Mission was dispatched but to our utter surprise, they were coerced to sign a paper under duress. We respect and welcome our people to understand together on any issues. But we cannot accept any forced imposition upon us and this is the only difference in our approach to a solution. We never blame the public but frenzy whipped up and fishing in the troubled water is what we cannot tolerate at any cost. We have never said the actions of our three errant cadres were right; neither denied nor justified it and accordingly after conducting thorough investigation punishment was meted out to them as per the Ahza of the Government.

Indeed it has taken a reasonable time to process the case in order to give a fair punishment. But notwithstandingall these efforts, the aftermath stand-off with our Sumi public and our cadres leading to abandonment of the designated Mukalimi Camp and the death of innocent public is regrettable. We are all the more trying to reason with our people on any issues at any time. What is there that the NSCN did not do to the three errant cadres? We have done the right thing because justice is given and so it is my earnest appeal to the Sumi brothers and sisters to exercise restraint so as to prevent any further unwanted situation. We will not remain a silent spectator when some leaders with vested interest, traitors and adversaries challenge the Nation. It is our bounden duty to defend the nation and our people from the enemies within and without.

Are the Nagas becoming stronger from this state of affairs? Never! Rather it has become a blessing for our enemy. What a folly! Therefore every sensible person must guard himself from being fooled or misguided by these treacherous elements and become a contributing factor to disgrace our sacred cause. We must be wise enough to see that we are not being trapped in the schemes of the enemy.

After the historical failure of the Naga National Council (NNC) to condemn the Shillong Accord of 1975, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) was formed in 1980 having committed ourselves to protect our nation’s existence and to uphold this righteous cause. We are faithful to carry forward the pledge taken by the Naga people in the year 1951. Based on this we are negotiating with the Government of India (GoI) at the highest level, without pre-condition and in a third country. During the course of the negotiation the GoI officially recognized our “Unique history and situation” and agreed that the solution to the Naga issue would be based on that recognition. We have not committed any political mistakes thus far by the grace of God.

Our political struggle is steadfast journey towards its destination through the continuous support of the Naga people. History has not forgotten the sacrifices and contributions made by the Sumi people. The Sumi people are very much part of this proud history that has helped in shaping the destiny of the Nagas. There is no other honorable path apart from this. Let us see to it that no divisive elements disturb us from within. We are for the people and by the will of God we shall negotiate and bring about an honorable negotiated political settlement for the Nagas.

My dear Sumi brothers and sisters, we cannot falter during this decisive moment for the task entrusted upon us by the Naga people. Together we must defend the Naga nation from the enemy of different shades.

I am sending you this message on behalf of the Collective Leadership. May the good Lord bless and give all the wisdom and vision at this critical juncture of our history. -NPN

Kuknalim.
Isak Chishi Swu
Chairman
National Socialist
Council of Nagalim

 

Advertisements

Sumis snap links with NSCN (I-M)

Dimapur, Jan 7 (NPN) :Sumi Baghi Hoho (Sumi general public meeting) on January 7 at the Town Hall Zunheboto, under the aegis of the Sumi Hoho passed four resolutions among which was to delink all ties with NSCN (I-M) with immediate effect and therefore, all forms of taxations from Sumis to the NSCN (I-M) shall cease to exist.
According to a joint statement issued by president Sumi Hoho Hovishe Arkha, president Sumi Kukami Hoho Ghovito Zhimomi, president Sumi Totimi Hoho Kitoli Naje and president Sumi Kiphimi Kuqhakulu Holuvi Chophy,the January 7 meting came against the backdrop of the December 21 incident where three NSCN (I-M) cadres “inflicted severe injury, committed sexual harassment, attempted rape and murder on innocent Sumis”.

As a consequence of the failure of NSCN (I-M) to hand over the culprits to the district administration, the Sumi public pursued Resolution No.1 of December 26,2013, to flush out NSCN (I-M) cadres from their designated camp at Mukalimi, the signatories said.

Sumi Baghi Hoho also resolved to declare December 28 as ‘Sumi Martyrs Day’ to be observed annually in memory of late Paketo Assumi and late Ghukiye Zhimomi who laid down their lives for the cause and destiny of the Sumi people.

The burial place for the ‘Sumi Martyrs’ was donated by sons of late Kuhozu of Sukhalu village and the place henceforth called ‘Sumi Martyrs Park’.

Further Sumi Baghi Hoho resolved that in the event any faction/factions or group of people, intimidating or committing excesses on either Sumi individual or community in the coming days, “the Sumi public will rise up against that particular faction/factions or group/groups of people”.

Also as per the Sumi Public Rally resolution No.2 of December 26,2013, it was resolved that NSCN (I-M) “shall not be permitted to establish its designated camp within Sumi inhabited areas, which shall be intimated to the concerned authority for necessary action.”

Sumi Baghi Hoho (Sumi general public meeting) on January 7 at the Town Hall Zunheboto, under the aegis of the Sumi Hoho passed four resolutions among which was to delink all ties with NSCN (I-M) with immediate effect and therefore, all forms of taxations from Sumis to the NSCN (I-M) shall cease to exist.

According to a joint statement issued by president Sumi Hoho Hovishe Arkha, president Sumi Kukami Hoho Ghovito Zhimomi, president Sumi Totimi Hoho Kitoli Naje and president Sumi Kiphimi Kuqhakulu Holuvi Chophy,the January 7 meting came against the backdrop of the December 21 incident where three NSCN (I-M) cadres “inflicted severe injury, committed sexual harassment, attempted rape and murder on innocent Sumis”.

As a consequence of the failure of NSCN (I-M) to hand over the culprits to the district administration, the Sumi public pursued Resolution No.1 of December 26,2013, to flush out NSCN (I-M) cadres from their designated camp at Mukalimi, the signatories said.

Sumi Baghi Hoho also resolved to declare December 28 as ‘Sumi Martyrs Day’ to be observed annually in memory of late Paketo Assumi and late Ghukiye Zhimomi who laid down their lives for the cause and destiny of the Sumi people.

The burial place for the ‘Sumi Martyrs’ was donated by sons of late Kuhozu of Sukhalu village and the place henceforth called ‘Sumi Martyrs Park’.

Further Sumi Baghi Hoho resolved that in the event any faction/factions or group of people, intimidating or committing excesses on either Sumi individual or community in the coming days, “the Sumi public will rise up against that particular faction/factions or group/groups of people”.

Also as per the Sumi Public Rally resolution No.2 of December 26,2013, it was resolved that NSCN (I-M) “shall not be permitted to establish its designated camp within Sumi inhabited areas, which shall be intimated to the concerned authority for necessary action.”

Sumi and NSCN imbroglio

By: Kughaho Sumi:    4 Jan. 2014

Many of us might think that recent imbroglio of flushing out of NSCN (IM) from Zunheboto by the Sumi tribe was a result of the incidence that happened on 21st Dec. 2013 by NSCN (IM) Cadres but it was not. Nor was it a fight against the freedom fighters but was a “fight for justice”. Of late, many of our freedom fighters have somewhere, somehow lost the real meaning of being a “freedom fighter” and have started oppressing the defenceless publics; some to the extent of committing acts of terror and inhuman activities. The culmination of “fight for justice” was not merely because of an incidence but an eruption of pent up frustration by the public after numerous tyrannical acts by the undergrounds and their inability to control or justify those acts. To comply with the demands of the public to right the wrongs was ignored.

 

I remember the time when we the public used to go to church to fast and pray for our freedom fighters for their safety and well being. Today the irony is instead of doing so, many are ready to take up arms against them. It is getting late for our freedom fighters to retrospect on their activities over the past 10-15 years and see where they went wrong and how we can once again work together towards our common goal of freedom from foreign rule.

I sincerely hope and pray that this incidence will be an eye opener for the Nagas and the warring factions where machine guns and automatic rifles were no match with a few sporting rifles, shotguns, spears and daos when fought with unity. This flush out operation is the zenith of intolerance of public against the high handedness of the underground with tragic casualties on both sides. However, the Sumi public through unity won its “fight for justice” by flushing out the NSCN (IM). The result is clear that as long as the Nagas are divided into different warring factions, no group or faction can achieve honourable political solution.

ACAUT a mass based movement representing the public voice against multiple illegal taxation culminating into Public rally with the public turn out in tens of thousands defying the ban imposed with high handedness without listening the voice of the people whom they represent. Our freedom fighter has to learn a lesson that as long as they don’t join hand and take the public into confidence, walking together against our common enemy and as long as our Naga Political Groups continues their high handedness without revamping their image and action.

Today it was the Sumis but tomorrow it is going to be rest of the Nagas, who God forbid, will resort to arms. As mentioned earlier, the public once had deep respect for our freedom fighters and went the extra mile to contributing what they can towards our cause. Unfortunately, with rampant forceful extortion, our freedom fighters have drawn a huge gap between Nagas’ cause, the public and freedom fighters and it is high time that these matters are taken seriously. I hope that NSCN (IM) and the Sumis will soon come to table, settle their differences and work towards a better Nagaland. NPN

Sema public against relentless NSCN-IM

By: Dr. Walunir.:    3 Jan. 2014 2:08 AM IST

 It is difficult to understand the cause of the intense mob fury of Semas and the relentless and stubborn counter-resistance of NSCN-IM cadres at Mukalimi. It is also impossible to associate the widespread infectious anger only with the incident of molestation and assaultby brutal NSCM-IM cadres.

This incident is just a matchstick to the hay-stack of prolonged bent up public anger against many discursive practices of Naga Nationalism, Nagaland State politics and Naga Civil Society. This is the plight of every sensible Naga.
Tribalism, Naga nationalism and Nagaland state politics are intricately related. This relationship is dubious in many instances which otherwise are tantamount to the survival of all of the three.
Many a times, different untoward practices in Naga socio-political arena emanate in the self-interest of leaders beyond the vigilant eyes of public. As an instance, some political leaderstake the aid of ‘nationalist’ outfits during elections to come into political power.
Once they rise to power and fame they pay-back at the cost of general public, and the entire political-bureaucratic machinery becomes paralyzed, thereby, slackening developmental activities in the state. No doubt they also engage in eye-wash talk against extortion and taxation and inter-tribal killings of nationalist outfits to win public sympathy.
In fact, the state assembly has not enunciated any substantial measureto check the multidimensional heavy taxation carried out by the outfits on public servants and businessmen. Who gave the ‘nationalists’, especially the NSCN-IM, such an unquestioned sway in Nagaland? Who gave patronage in setting up Mukalimi designated NSCN-IM Camp and other such camps all over Nagaland? The answers are many but the obvious is clear and undebatable.
Naga civil society hasputthe fate of Nagas in the hands of NSCN (IM). Evidently,our apex Civil Society organizations cower in silence, as the society broils and wrench under oppression. Their silence is deafening as though they are dead scared of voicingthe truth against anti-people acts.
At the most there are one paragraph condemnations and rejoinders in the newspapers. Obliquely, their muteness enhances the courage of the perpetrators to openly conduct crime. The worse is when the general public and individuals start to induce muckraking based on tribal lines further reducing our collective strength to resist any vices against us.
Is it a Sema-NSCN-IM clash after all?  At such times as these, it should not translate to a single entity like ‘Ao War’, ‘Sema War’, ‘Angami War’, etc. Semapublic at Mukalimiis fighting a faceless enemy on behalf of the Naga public. But our enemies are not just the NSCN-IM camped at Mukalimi.
The deaths and casualties at Mukalimi will not solve the persistent decade old wrongs of Naga Nationalism and State Politics. Our anger should be redirected towards the right target through alternative means.
Intervention by bureaucrats and political leaders at the scene of action is important but they should think of long term solution to plight of general Naga public. Naga tribal Hohos should rise up to the stature of Naga parental organization – send ordinance to the Naga nationalist headquarters to disarm with immediate effect; constitute public committee to legislate ‘Code of Conduct’ of ‘Naga Nationalist Workers’ and ‘Naga Army’.
State legislature should pass ‘Criminal Act’ on ‘Illegal Taxation’ and empower State Armed Force to execute it in truth and in spirit. Naga civil society should weed out nexus of Nagaland politics and Naga Army – the secret ties and allegiances of politicians with underground outfits and personnel should be cut off.
Every sensible Naga should defend their rights, libertyand justice in Nagaland beyond the symbolic borders of tribalism. These are only a few of the many prospective alternative measures. Till then, cancerous discursive practices of Naga nationalism and politics will engulf Nagaland and innocent Nagas will clash and die while real culprits remain complacently safe. -NPN

REPORTING FROM THE WAR FRONT- A once in a life time experience

  • By: K.V.Nurumi, Sr.Correspondent, Nagaland Post

     Day 1- December 28 : The sight of volunteers in thousands gathered at Zunheboto Local Ground send chills down my spine and it was a hair raising moment as they boarded whatever available transportation that would take them to Mukalimi village unaware of what they would encounter. Women and children lined up the street and roof tops waving and cheering. In the evening, when the thousands of Sumi Volunteers reached Mukalimi Village armed with guns, spears, daos, sticks and whatever available tools they had in the hundreds of vehicles of different kind, my journalist instinct inside me kept on telling me that all’s not going to be well. The dust that was lifted by the hundreds of vehicles all throughout the Zbto-Mukalimi road perhaps have not settled down as yet. It was incredible and awesome. Volunteers who boarded mini-trucks and trucks were unrecognisable. A road block was encountered as the road was dug up but was filled with stones and tree trunks within no time. Late in the evening at around 6 P.M, the sound of war cries from hundreds of volunteers was greeted with the sound of the automatic guns from AK47s and SLRs. Barely 15 minutes after the first exchange of fire,the first casualty was brought in followed by two others. They had been hit on the hand, leg and the fingers.
    Then within a span of 45 minutes or so, the first victim’s body was brought. He was hit on the head and a scarf had to conceal his wounds. This group though had done maximum damage as they cut off the main pipeline, the water source for the camp which eventually could have also demoralized the cadres within the camp(Just my thought though). Another water source which is located below the camp was also believed to have been damaged but it was not to be. The firing continued for sometime even as leaders from the Sumi community tried their best to convince the volunteers from going to the camp late in the night. The plan was to make proper war strategy and strike at the first light of the dawn. It was around 8 p.m that I started filing my story from my lap top inside my vehicle. In between, I was also making several attempts to connect to the internet which turned out to be unsuccessful despite making many an attempt. With story done and network down, I decided to head to Zbto and come back early next morning. It was nearly midnight by the time I reached Zbto and the first thing I did before having my late dinner was to send the story. Within few minutes it was done and then only I realised that I was hungry…had dinner and dozed off.
    Day 2,December 29: Started from Zbto at around 8 A.M and reached at around 10:30. I was told that the volunteers has overtaken the bunkers and were engaged in the battle at the closest range. Till noon there were no casualties. I headed for the front mustering all the strength of the heart. From the road, I could see 12 or more volunteers taking shelter near the turning portion of the road. The rest of the volunteers were engaged in battle above this road. These volunteers were making all efforts to destroy the water source that was located below the camp. But from a bunker above the water source, I could see 2 cadres firing from SLRs at the 12 odd volunteers. At the bunker, volunteers cheered as bullets wheezed past above us. I could only lie flat on the ground wondering what guts the volunteers at the front had by facing the experienced and trained NSCN (IM) cadres with just bore guns, .22, and 303 rifles. The volunteers at the back were carrying spears, daos and sticks.

    Shouting and yelling of abusive words were exchanged intermittently (in Sumi language) between the cadres inside the camp and the volunteers. Then one of the volunteer who came from the front searching for extra ammunition told the crowd there that one NSCN (IM) cadre had been shot and has not come out from the bunker from where he was firing. He told us that the cadre was firing from an AK 47 rifle which probably was still inside that bunker. He informed that the both the volunteers and the cadres were trying to retrieve the body. I headed back towards the base camp (Mukali village) and even as I walked back several thousands of rounds of ammunition were being fired from the automatic guns (what a loss I thought) presuming that a bullet of AK47 might cost around Rs.300 or even more. Then at around 6 p.m, the first casualty of the day was brought in at a place near the village ground where medical personnel was stationed. He was identified as Ghukiye and he sustained grievous injury as the bullet pierced his abdomen and exited through the other side of the abdomen. Parts of the intestine protruded out at the exit wound. Doctor told me that it was grievous and the injured had to be shifted to Kohima immediately, which I heard later that they did. He unfortunately succumbed to his injury at NHAK Kohima on Dec 31 morning.

     

    Exchange of fire continued till late evening and from the village ground, I could see a bright light outside the camp. I was later informed that the light was from a “Chinese emergency light” placed by cadres to protect the bunker from where one of its was reportedly shot at. The volunteers were in return, trying their best to retrieve the gun that the cadre was using to fire at them. I returned to may camp (my vehicle) and started to narrate the incidents from my cell phone to my colleagues who noted down the events. My mom (My Dad is the vice president of Sumi Kukami Hoho so she had to accompany my Dad, thanks to her and God Bless her) called me out for dinner from a make shift open kitchen behind a hut which turned out to be a shop which the public had looted on Day 1. After dinner, I strolled around the village even as intermittent sounds of gunfire were heard. I saw every house occupied by volunteers and there was utter chaos as vehicles tried to find any available place to park and volunteers loitering around the village nowhere to go and find shelter. Slept for the night cramped at the back seat of my Bolero but couldn’t really figure out how many hours I could sleep because of the cramps and the chilling cold.

    Day 3 (December 30): Woke up with the news that the NSCN (IM) was willing to vacate the camp if provided with a safe passage. This did not go well with the public as casualty in the form of death and injury was involved during the “flush out mission.” By 8 in the morning a team from the Western Sumi frontal organisation accompanied by a Commissioner & Secretary had arrived at Mukalimi. I also heard that the leaders from the Sumi frontal organisations were camped at Ghathashi Church Guest House. So taking the opportunity, I boarded the vehicle belonging to the bureaucrat to whom I related the entire sequence of events.(Firing had began at around 8:30 AM). At the meeting with Hoho leaders at Ghathashi, the visiting delegates were briefed about the entire episode and how the idea of providing safe passage was not acceptable to the volunteers. Had lunch there at the Church Guest House and on the way, a high ranking official from police department told the bureaucrat and the visiting delegates that the idea of providing safe passage to the cadres would be disastrous. By the time we reached base camp, I initiated a press briefing for Guwahati based TV channel, DY365 with the leaders of the Sumi frontal organisations.

    It was during the course of this interview that people started rejoicing over the news that the volunteers had broken the barricades of the well-fortified and entrenched NSCN (IM) camp and that the volunteers had surged ahead. I headed towards the camp and from the road I could see smoke coming out from the camp. It was exactly 11:32 A.M . Every step I took towards the camp, I could see more smoke billowing out from various locations inside the camp. Gunfire were continuous but that subsided making way for huge shouts of victory. From the road, I could see 6-7 vehicles parked beyond the camp, below Pughoboto Town and when the first smoke emerged, I could see these vehicles move down towards the river below the camp. Near the bunkers, I could see barks of trees being shredded apart by the bullets, at the ground, make shift bunkers dug up by volunteers, water bottles strewn everywhere and left overs of food in paper crates (cartons) were seen near the bunkers. The lone electric post providing power to the camp was bent mid-half and the wires were cut by the volunteers. The main gate was already burnt down and volunteers were seen felling trees inside the camp. The concrete water tank was broken down by some volunteers with hammers and axes.

     

    Volunteers in thousands were at work doing all the damage that they could within the camp. All the huts and settlements were set on fire except the Church were spared. Inside the church, volunteers found two Holy books, one belonged to a Sumi and the other to a Tangkhul. (These were submitted to the Sumi frontal organisation leaders later). Smoke filled the air and it difficult to breathe. Shouts of “Alhou She” (Praise the Lord in Sumi dialect) rung the air and shots of guns continued over jubilation. Inside the camp, I saw a commotion and headed towards that spot.

    Here I saw some volunteers digging up some earth sensing that some cadres could have been buried. However, good Christian sense prevailed and the volunteers were stopped from digging the earth. Having witnessed the entire sequence that unfolded, I headed back towards the village where I found that representatives from Naga Mothers’Association, Chakesang Baptish Church Association (CBCA) and Nagaland Tribes Council had come to express solidarity with the Sumi frontal organizations. After interacting with the visiting delegates I thought should head back. Announcements were being made that all the volunteers would leave the place together but that fell into deaf ears as vehicles carrying volunteers started to exit the village. I told my brother and my parents that we should move along and this we did. The ride back to Zunheboto was emotional and heart breaking as women and children greeted the volunteers at Satakha and Zunheboto. Women in traditional Sumi dress and children with flags and placards cheered and waved flags at every incoming vehicle at various points at Zunheboto. The volunteers were greeted with shouts of joy and jubilation and celebration even as gunshots and burst of crackers rang the air in the evening. Placards reading “Congrats-Sumi Warriors,” “Welcome home brave Sumi warriors,” “We are proud of our Sumi warriors” and “Sumis, the Naga legendary warriors,” were displayed. The volunteers gathered at Zunheboto local ground where a brief thanksgiving programme was held. Fire crackers lit the night and the jubilation continued for hours into the night. Having witnessed the victory celebration, I headed for my parents home where I began to work on my story. The story that appeared on December 31 edition of Nagaland Post. I thank Vinoka K.Zhimo for the pictures.

    Note: The sequence of events that led to the confrontation at Mukalimi Village was covered by me and they appeared in “Nagaland Post” in their previous editions. I thank the editor and publisher “Nagaland Post” for reposing trust in me and above all I thank God for the opportunity to be part of this historic mission and for protecting me all throughout the 3 day siege. There are lots to write but this I hope and believe would suffice for the moment.

Molest fury shadow on Naga peace talks

New Delhi, Dec. 30: Public anger over a molestation case involving alleged cadres of Naga militant group NSCN (Isak-Muivah) has sparked fears of a jolt to ongoing peace talks with the group, though the Centre sees an opportunity to drive a hard bargain.

Two protesters died in alleged firing from an NSCN (IM) camp last week when a crowd marched to the site demanding that the cadres accused of molesting two women recently be handed over to police. The alleged molestation and the backlash unfolded in Ghatashe, a small town around 100km from state capital Kohima.

This is the second time the outfit has faced public ire: people in Dimapur had protested what they had claimed was “unabated taxation” by NSCN (IM) cadres, a euphemism forextortion.

The latest unrest has cast a shadow on a 1997 ceasefire agreement signed between the then United Front government at the Centre and the NSCN (IM). It also threatens the momentum the 16-year peace process was seen to be gathering in recent months, until a key interlocutor quit.

The Centre has, however, smelt a chance to grab a bargaining chip against the NSCN (IM) from last week’s unrest and could resist its demands on integration of Naga pockets in other northeastern states such as Manipur.

“Killing of civilians amounts to abrogation of ceasefire,” Shambhu Singh, joint secretary (the Northeast) in the Union home ministry, said when asked about media speculation that the Centre could end the ceasefire pact.

The state government headed by Neiphiu Rio, whose Nagaland People’s Party(NPP) backs the cause of a larger Naga homeland championed by militant groups and was re-elected this March, is accused by some of silently watching from sidelines as the law and order worsened.

The fresh unrest and the alleged state indifference have triggered fears that sectarianviolence could spread to Dimapur, a Nagaland business hub bordering Assam and dubbed a “melting pot” as it is inhabited by Nagas and people from other states.

Singh, the joint secretary in charge of the Northeast, admitted the Centre feared the unrest could spread to Dimapur. Another setback was the resignation of R.S. Pandey, the Centre’s interlocutor in the talks. He was once the state’s chief secretary. – Telegraph India

Naga tribal siege forces insurgents to flee

30Dec: Sumi Naga tribals armed with spears, machetes and shotguns forced insurgents to evacuate a camp at Mukalimi in Naglaland’s Zunheboto district on Monday, following a two day siege which claimed at least three lives. Local residents, eyewitnesses told The Hindu, burned down huts, offices and vehicles after cadre of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland—Isaac-Muviah group fled the camp, leaving only a church standing.

The violent clashes come just weeks after New Delhi met with representatives of the NSCN-IM in the latest round of a long-running dialogue meant to hammer out a political compromise with the insurgent group..

“New Delhi is committed to ensuring the ceasefire with the NSCN-IM continues”, a senior Ministry of Home Affairs official in New Delhi said. “However, the siege underlines how fast public opinion inNagaland is turning against the insurgents”.

Violent showdown

Friction had begun building at Mukalimi after two Suma women said they had been strip-searched at an insurgent check-point on December 21. The Sema Hoho, or tribal council, and Totimi Hoho, or women’s council, demanded that the cadre involved be handed over to the state police for prosecution.

In a statement to media, the NSCN-IM said its own police—known as Crime Suppression Division—had arrested and sentenced three cadre, who it identified as Mapam Keishing, Mahori and Ninoto.

However, the Sumi Hoho rejected the NSCN-IM’s internal punishment, demanding legal processes be implemented instead. Local villagers answered to a call from the Hoho, and laid seige to the Mukalimi camp on December 26.

Even as over a hundred Assam Rifles personnel stood by, bound by the terms of India’s ceasefire agreement with the NSCN-IM, the insurgents inside the camp opened fire on the protestors on December 28. Five protestors were killed, and one injured. Sumi protestors returned fire; police sources say two bodies of insurgents were found in the camp on Monday. The seige also cut off food and water to the hill-top camp, leading the NSCN-IM cadre to run out of supplies.

Further firing took place early on Monday morning, an Assam Rifles source said, but the insurgents eventually accepted a safe-passage offer facilitated by the paramilitary force.

Deadlocked talks

New Delhi, a senior government official told The Hindu, hopes the fighting will force the NSCN-IM to adopt “a more realistic posture, keeping in mind its actual ground strength and popularity.”. NSCN-IM chairmanIsak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah had met government interlocutor RS Pandey for two days of closed-door talks on November 21.

Mr. Pandey, a senior government official told The Hindu, reiterated an earlier offer to give Naga communities in both Nagaland and Manipur similar substantial rights across state lines—but without territorial concessions from Manipur on Naga-inhabited areas in the districts of Tamenlong, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel.

Later, though, Mr. Pandey has resigned as interlocutor after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party; the Union Government has made no fresh appointment.

The NSCN-IM’s leadership and cadre hails from the Tangkhul sub-tribe, based across the border in Manipur. It operates, though, in territories that are home to competing, and historically hostile, tribes. The Sumi Nagas, also known as Sema Nagas, who laid siege to the camp have long competed for power and influence with the Tanghkhul Nagas, who make up the bulk of the NSCN-IM’s leadership and cadre.

Kaito Sema, the former commander-in-chief of the Naga Federal Army, was among the earliest important insurgent leaders to join democratic politics.

Earlier this year, protests against proposed reservations for Manipur-based Naga tribes living in Nagaland pitted the newly-formed Naga Tribal Alliance, against the NSCN-IM backed Naga Hoho, which claims to speak for the entire tribe.

“India’s negotiations with the NSCN-IM have been driven by the belief that the insurgent group represents the people of Nagaland”, said RN Ravi, an expert on the region who earlier served with the Intelligence Bureau. “That belief was simplistic, and remains simplistic”.

Protests against the NSCN-IM’s parallel taxation structure, used to fund the insurgent group, also gathered momentum this year. Thousands defied NSCN-IM calls to rally in Dimapur on November 1 under the banner of the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation to protest against taxes imposed on underground organisations on salaries, businesses and contractors.

Former Indian Administrative Service officer and social activist KK Sema called for “one government, one tax”. -HT