Friday, July 17, 2009

Naga groups rapped for fuelling terror

OUR BUREAU
Kohima/New Delhi, July 16: The Centre has decided to come down heavily on the NSCN factions for allegedly turning Nagaland into a terror hub.

Union government officials will separately meet the leaders of the NSCN (I-M) and NSCN (K) to discuss sheltering of terror outfits from other states of the region by the two factions.

Leaders of both the factions have already reached New Delhi for the meeting. Nagaland chief secretary Lalthara and director-general of police K. Kire today had separate meetings with the officials of the home ministry on the issue.

Sources said home ministry officials would first meet the NSCN (I-M) tomorrow, where home secretary G.K. Pillai and other officials from the ministry, along with top military and intelligence officials would discuss the implementation of the truce ground rules.

Sources said the meeting would discuss the presence of several Northeast insurgent outfits operating in Nagaland under the patronage of the NSCN factions.

The sources said the Centre was deeply perturbed over the presence of proscribed outfits sheltering and operating from Nagaland taking advantage of the current ceasefire between Delhi and the two NSCN groups.

The Centre had asked the Naga outfits time and again not to harbour any militant outfit in their camps, but this has been ignored. “This has not gone down well with the Centre and it is likely to deal very firmly with the situation,” the source said.

According to the state government, there are over a dozen non-Naga outfits from the Northeast actively operating in the state in connivance with the NSCN factions.

Nagaland home minister Imkong L. Imchen said these outfits have “taxed” Naga people to a great extent and sought the intervention of the Centre to tackle the menace. He said to check this terror outfits the state government had decided to raise a commando battalion.

Assam-based militant outfits like Ulfa and the DHD (J) are believed to be using Nagaland for taking shelter and even carrying out operations in their home states from there.

Both the Centre and the state government are also concerned about the illegal arms trade from Dimapur, which, according to Imchen, has turned into a nerve centre of criminal activities.

The sources said during the meeting with the NSCN groups, home ministry officials would make sure that Naga outfits stopped harbouring other banned outfits, stop all sorts of criminal activities such as extortion, kidnapping and ransom.

On the eve of the meeting, Union home minister P. Chidambaram met top home ministry, defence ministry and state government officials, besides interlocutor K. Padmanabhaiah.

Chidambaram is understood to have told the state government that local police should crack down on extortionists and hardcore militants if they violate ground rules. The alleged involvement of the NSCN (I-M) in the ethnic disturbances between Nagas and Dimasas was also discussed.

Interestingly, Naxalite leaders had called on NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingalang Muivah two years ago.

The meeting will also discuss the setting up of more designated camps for the NSCN (K).
Both the security forces and the NSCN groups accuse each other of violating the truce ground rules.

The two groups have often engaged in bloody gun battles that have left several cadres dead.

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