Sunday, October 1, 2023
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Politics of Militancy and Guns: Changing dynamics

Nagaland News

Packages, training are incentives for surrender in Manipur

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, AUGUST 22: In January this year, a senior military officer had said, “Since the time Niki Sumi and his group came onboard for peace talks, the Yung Aung faction of NSCN (also called NSCN-KYA) has been considerably weakened.”
But by mid-August sleeves were pulled up once again and there are reports of ‘revival’ of some activities by the ultra group. More importantly from security point of view, the group has able to establish operational links with ULFA (I).
Therefore on the Independence Day, August 15, a joint group of NSCN-KYA and ULFA-I attacked an Assam Rifles camp in Nagaland’s Mon district.
Earlier on August 9, the groups had carried out three separate attacks on Assam Rifles camps in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
“On being challenged by own troops, the UGs opened fire which was appropriately retaliated causing severe casualties to the UG group. Two Assam Rifles’ soldiers also sustained injuries; they have been evacuated to Jorhat Air Force Hospital for further treatment. They were evacuated with the help of local villagers”, said a statement by security forces.
New Delhi is concerned about the incidents both at local level and also at a broad and regional level.
“With the killing of jawans and repeated attacks, it is easy to say that the insurgency issue in the Northeast is far from over. Things are being examined closely as in December 2021, there were hue and cry and persistent demand for withdrawal of the AFSPA”, a source said.
In Nagaland, focus has been largely on peace talks, timing of a solution and the ensuing Assembly elections.
But in the remote areas and in jungles along the Myanmar border in parts of Mon district, ‘militancy activities’ are on rise.
Security analysts say things certainly need ‘closer scrutiny’ as the situation has deteriorated to a large extent from what was the scene in May 2021.
On May 16, 2021, there were reports that “common public” in Arunachal Pradesh’s Longding district thrashed 4 members of the NSCN (Khaplang-Yung Aung), forcing them to release a villager they had kidnapped from Maihwa village. Two of the NSCN (K-YA) gunmen were also handed over to the security forces.
The message was important, they say.
It was given out that the only Naga ultra faction which remained out of the ‘peace process’ with the Centre was losing local ‘support’. But the sheer change in dynamics is not a good sign.
They also do not rule out the possible angle that the ‘delay’ in settling the dispute between the Government of India and the stakeholders among Naga groups ~ NSCN-IM and NNPG ~ could also be somewhat related to what is happening on ground.
A Union Home Ministry report threw focus on other Northeastern States and claimed things were by and large ‘peaceful’ in Mizoram and Tripura.
In fact, compared to 2019, it was revealed that insurgency-related violence and killings declined in 2020 by 42% in Arunachal Pradesh, 45% in Nagaland, 12% in Assam and 23-24% in Manipur.
In Nagaland, violent incidents actually came down to 23 in 2020 from 42 the previous year (2019).
Nearly 44% of insurgency related incidents in 2020 in Nagaland were attributed to NSCN-IM.
Officials did not take these figures lightly and a formal ‘query’ message was sent to Kohima as well.
The 2020 and 2019 data actually suggested that the NSCN-IM, which began talks formally in 1997, was still active on ground with boots and bullets. Notably, time and again the militant group used to deny the Government version that peace talks have formally ended on October 31, 2019.
But the NSCN (KYA) activities owe their origin to other factors.
“One reason is the military coup in Myanmar since 2021 and subsequent restrictions imposed on movement of armed groups by the military junta. Moreover, K-YA bases are geographically away from population so they have increased their activities on the Indian side”.
Sources said the NSCN-KYA group is now active in Noklak region and this does not augur well for ‘peace loving people and forces in the region’.
Official sources, however, say things are under control and cool in Manipur where the ‘surrender policy and packages” are helping those who come out shunning the path of violence and arson.