Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Chidambaram talks tough on NSCN (I-M)

Home minister P. Chidambaram today made it clear that he favoured an end to the impasse with Naga militants because he believed that the cease-fire with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) had gone on for too long, reports The Telegraph.
At a security meeting today with senior home ministry and defence officials, Chidambaram took a tough stand, especially in view of the standoff between the Assam Rifles and Naga militants in Shiroy village in Manipur’s Ukhrul district for the past 11 days.
The NSCN (IM) and the Centre are in cease-fire in Nagaland since 1997. “He sounded tough,” a source said after the meeting.
Yesterday, during a meeting with Outer Manipur MP Mani Charenamei, the home minister made no bones about his reservations on the unending cease-fire. He is understood to have told the MP that the NSCN (IM) will have to mend its ways.
Though there is little possibility of either the Centre or the NSCN (IM) calling off the truce in a hurry, it is certain that the standoff in Manipur has brought about a change in Delhi’s stance. Till now, the Centre had maintained that it would not like to lose the hard-earned peace in Nagaland.
To a no-nonsense Chidambaram, however, results seemed more important within a timeframe.
Home ministry officials said the outfit has a tendency to blow small issues out of proportion. “In Shiroy, they were allowed to leave with their weapons but are now asking us to provide them a camp,” said an official. Under the cease-fire, the outfit has 11 designated camps in Nagaland but none outside the state. The present camp, near the hometown of the outfit’s general secretary, Thuingaleng Muivah, is the fourth one in the state.
Since 1995, even after the truce with the Centre that was limited to Nagaland state, the NSCN (IM) maintained three camps in Manipur. However, Shiroy seems to be the last straw for security forces.
The NSCN (IM) set up the camp in 2007 at Shiroy, best known for the exotic lily, despite opposition from the security forces. The abduction of Assam Rifles jawans a month ago and the outfit’s unwillingness to admit its mistakes led to the stalemate, officials said.
The issue will be taken up again this week at a follow-up meeting and another with interlocutor in Naga talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, sources said.

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