Assam moves Centre on NSCN (IM) activities

R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Nov 4 – The Assam Government has again informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about the involvement of members of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) in illegal activities like extortion in the State. The matter has also been reported to the cease-fire monitoring committee involving representatives of the Central Government and the militant outfit.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that members of the NSCN started issuing demand notes to Government officers in North Cachar Hills and even an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer received demand note from the outfit. Sources said that the outfit is informed about the release of funds to different departments and only the officers of the departments, which received substantial amount of funds received such extortion notes from the outfit. The extortion notes were delivered in the offices, but police suspect that the militant outfit used its supporters to deliver the demand notes.

Sources said that the NSCN has a major support base in the villages inhabited by Naga people and though operations are launched in those villages from time to time, the activities of the group has not ceased. Sources observed that only such operations would not solve the problem and the Government of India should take up the issue strongly with the senior leaders of the NSCN, which is under cease-fire agreement since 1997. Though the Government has decided to construct nine Border outposts of Assam Police along the NC Hills-Nagaland border to restrict the movement of the NSCN militants, sources expressed the view that only such BOPs in isolated places would not solve the problem because of the terrain in the area.

Meanwhile, commenting on the overall law and order scene in NC Hills, official sources said that sporadic incidents of violence including the recent blast on the railway track is a matter of concern and all groups having weapons are trying to get a share of the funds released to the Council. Sources said that the possibility of clashes between Dimasa and non-Dimasa people also cannot be ruled out as armed groups among communities like Naga, Kuki and Hmars are also active in the area whereas talks with the DHD and DHD(J) are also not making much progress. Though the situation is now under control, the police and administration is finding it hard to keep a close watch on the situation, particularly in the remote areas because of shortage of forces.

Though the sources refused to divulge the exact number of forces available in the district, they admitted that some forces were withdrawn after the DHD(J) surrendered arms to come forward for talks, while, some more forces were withdrawn recently due to elections in Bihar. Because of shortage of forces, the district administration has been forced to engage personnel of the Territorial Army to provide security to the persons engaged in the gauge conversion work of the Railways. However, at this moment, gauge conversion work is not affected by any major security threat, while, the National Highway project remained suspended for some time because of some administrative difficulties and it should resume soon as the concerned authorities have floated fresh tenders.