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ISSUE NO 2.03

INSURGENCY

SEPTEMBER 1, 2000





NEWS THIS FORTNIGHT

CRPF man killed in HNLC attacks: Curfew imposed in Shillong
Ceasefire encompasses all Naga-inhabited areas: Isak Chishi Swu
CM unfazed by NSCN threat
Shillong under curfew after sporadic firing
Shillong tense, curfew continues
NSCN(IM) apologises to public for its 'excesses'
Situation eases in Naga villages in Ukhrul
POT Bill act puts Nipamacha in a tight spot
He gave his life to build up resistance against militants
Shillong limping back to normalcy
Suspend Army operations in Senapati, Ukhrul: Naga bodies
Nipamacha likely to press Centre on Naga truce in Manipur
6 HNLC militants nabbed in Shillong
Naga Hoho hails Swu's statement tendering apology to public
NSCN(IM) recovers looted money, hands over to police
Naga truce extension to Manipur: Cabinet decides to oppose move
2 killed, 105 houses torched in Tripura violence
Violence may end in Nagaland
Optimism on ULFA's decline misplaced?
Meghalaya had plan to induct Army
Strange attitudes' regarding truce extension irks NSCN(IM)
Three of family among five hurt in AR assault
NSCN(IM) denies preparing 'hit list'
Pardon me, Muivah urges Thailand
Centre mulls ban on Khasi militant outfit
HNLC ultra, 2 KSU leaders killed in encounter
Meghalaya Govt to take tough stand
1 killed, tea labourers wages looted by NLFT
NSCN(IM) denies masterminding Shillong attacks
I-cards proposal for NSCN(IM) top brass
Five killed in Kokrajhar blast
Meghalaya Opp approves state Govt's action
NSCN(IM)'s 'warning letter' open threat to peace, democracy: Jamir
2 INF militants lay down arms
Meghalaya rules out deployment of Army in capital
Army comes to rescue: Adivasi mob attacks Jamugurihat PS
Naga truce doesn't exist in Manipur, says Nipamacha
Involve Nagaland govt in peace talks, Cong urges PM
Top Army officers monitoring Tripura insurgency: Malik
Vehicles go off Imphal-Moreh sector of NH-39 in protest
MHRC tells police to locate arrested boy
Bangkok has an efficient NSCN 'embassy'
Death of woman prisoner: NHRC asks Assam Govt to pay Rs 1 lakh
Centre considering move to raise 2nd IRB in Nagaland
'Woman of the year' conferred on Lamdan rape victim
Indo-Burma talks to check ULFA, drugs start
Lamyanba, AMSU deny UG link
Army officer killed in Tamenglong ambush
NE rebels disenchanted, says George
Two injured in Tamenglong ambush under treatment: Army Captain succumbs to injuries
NSCN(K) announces truce with NSCN(IM)


CRPF man killed in HNLC attacks: Curfew imposed in Shillong
SHILLONG, August 16: In a rare show of firm political will to tackle the decade-old militancy problem in Meghalaya head-on, the administration today imposed a 24-hour curfew in the state capital in a bid to flush out militants holed up in the state capital. The decision came in the wake of indiscriminate firing from automatic weapons by suspected Hynniewtrep Liberation Council (HNLC) militants in several localities and attacks on police and CRPF men last night. CRPF havildar AK Singh was killed when a gang of five militants dressed in Army fatigues opened fire on a CRPF picket at Umsohsun, behind Eamland cinema hall around 9.30 pm in the first of incidents yesterday. In another attack on the security forces moments later at Mothran in Barabazar area, another CRPF jawan was injured. In both the incidents, the police and CRPF returned the fire but casualties, if any, on the militants' side was not known. Then came a series of indiscriminate firings at Mawkhar, Rynjah, Wahingdoh, Laitumkhrah and of all places, in front of the well-guarded Raj Bhavan, creating panic and terror among the citizens. However, none was injured in these incidents, which reportedly continued till 1 am today. Meanwhile, in a show of defiance, the ultras attacked a CRPF party at Polo Ground at 7.45 pm today despite the curfew. The attack was however repulsed. In the 'counter-action' launched by the Special Operations Team (SOT) of Meghalaya Police and CRPF since last night, the only success till 6 pm today was the catch of Mangkara Pakyntein, a former bodyguard of HNLC's commander-in-chief, from Mawprem in the city. He was nabbed around 1 pm but no weapon was recovered from him. Meghalaya Cabinet, with Chief Minister EK Mawlong in the chair, later today reviewed the situation and is understood to have okayed the operation. The state government also sent an urgent request to the Centre for three additional companies of CRPF personnel to cope with the situation. The on-going combing operation in Mawlai area, considered the stronghold of the urban-based HNLC is expected to be widened with the arrival of the reinforcements. The curfew today came after a gap of about eight years. The last was in 1992, when the authorities, in the wake of widespread communal disturbances, had clamped an indefinite curfew. State Home Minister, TH Rangad, told a press conference late this afternoon "we will not allow Meghalaya to be turned into another Kashmir or Nagaland." Expressing firm resolve to contain militancy in the state, he explained that the curfew was imposed as a 'counter-action' and also to ensure safety and security of the public. Appealing to the people for cooperation, he said "we can no longer live in fear, insecurity and threat to social life, our economy. A handful of anti-socials cannot hold the majority to ransom." He urged the people of Meghalaya to follow the example of the people of Assam who "after long suffering have openly come out to oppose the activities of the militants thereby compelling them to come overground." Replying to questions, he said the state government had recommended about three years back to the Centre to ban the HNLC. It was, however, turned down, he informed. Denying that there existed a politician-militant nexus in the state, he observed "no politician has ever made any unreasonable request to me. I have never faced any interference from them." A senior police official here claimed that if not for political interference and lack of political will, "we would have easily tackled with the bunch of ordinary criminals that the HNLC is." "We are on total offensive against militants now," said East Khasi Hills SP GHP Raju. "We know the people expect a lot from us." (Bedabrata Lahkar; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 17, 2000)
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Ceasefire encompasses all Naga-inhabited areas: Isak Chishi Swu
KOHIMA, August 16: NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chishi Swu Monday claimed the ceasefire area coverage encompasses all Naga-inhabited areas and is not confined to the "so-called Nagaland state" alone, reports PTI. "The main objective of the ceasefire agreement is to facilitate political talks aimed at bringing a lasting honourable political solution to the long-drawned Indo-Naga political issue," Swu said in a message to the Naga people. The chairman said basing on the previously agreed terms and commitments, the NSCN and the Government of India had further extended the ceasefire for one more year. Swu's message, which was read out at a function held Monday at organisation's council headquarters in Nagaland asserted that NSCN has been looking for a solution based on the "national principle." To concretise the on-going peace process "we need your continuous unwavering support," he said. All the three underground organisations reportedly observed 53rd Naga Independence Day Monday in different parts of the state by hoisting their respective flags. Meanwhile, an NSCN(IM) press release here said the underground organisation Monday observed the Naga Independence day at a function at its council headquarters with "Kilo Kilonser" (Home Minister) Q Tuccu hoisting the outfit's flag as chief guest. He also read out the Swu's message. NSCN(IM) chairman also said the arrest and detention of T Muivah in Bangkok had stalled the political talk and put the peace efforts in dire straits. "Since he has been mandated by the people to be the chief negotiator in our political talks with the Government of India, Muivah's participation in the peace process is indispensable," the chairman insisted. Referring to appeal made by different organisations abroad to Thai government to release Muivah, Swu said, "it is our profound hope that Thai authority would consider the appeals and take a favourable step to promote the current peace process." Appreciating the initiation taken by New Delhi in resolving the Naga political problem, chairman said "it would be unfair on our part if we do not given due credit to the Government of India and the people for the bold step they have taken since the current peace process." (Press Trust of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 17, 2000)
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CM unfazed by NSCN threat
IMPHAL, August 16: Chief Minister Wahengbam Nipamacha has today confirmed that he has received an Intelligence report that NSCN(IM) might attack him for his opposition to the extension of ceasefire to Manipur, but added that he is unfazed by the threat. Talking to reporters at his office here today the Chief Minister said he had been given special security cover while he was returning back to Imphal from New Delhi via Calcutta recently. He accepted the challenge from the NSCN(IM) saying that he is not afraid that he would be killed at the age of 70. He however felt pity for those young cadres of the outfit. "It will be good to lose a village if it will save a Country or a state. It will also be good for a family or a man to die than to lose a village. The Government will make a public apology if it fails to meet the threat", the CM said stating that the threat from the NSCN(IM) would be discussed in the next Cabinet meeting. Shrugging off the threat Nipamacha declared that he would not allow any force to disturb the territorial integrity of Manipur. "I will not negotiate anything with the NSCN(IM). It would be better for me to die than to lose the territorial integrity of Manipur," he said. He, however, added that he will welcome if the Centre declares ceasefire with all the underground groups in Manipur to make room for holding peace talks jointly in the course of the ongoing peace talks between the Centre and the NSCN(IM). The then Congress Government in the state had also opposed the extension of ceasefire to Manipur, he said adding that his United Front (UF) Government will also not allow to bring Manipur under the ceasefire area. Wondering the meaning of 'informal ceasefire' Nipamacha wanted to know if the Tadubi ambush was the outcome of the extension. Stating that armed NSCN(IM) cadres are moving freely in Ukhrul and Chandel he said the Home Ministry has been apprised that the outfit has been openly organising public meetings in the hill areas to spread anti-Indian feeling. The Union Home secretary GK Pillai has been asked to clarify on the issue of ceasefire coverage but no response came from the Centre, Nipamacha said. He said the agreement on the merger of the then Naga Integration Council (NIC) into the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1972 mentioned a term 'free movement' of the Nagas. Former Chief Minister RK Ranbir had drafted the agreement. But free movement of UGs was not mentioned. Moreover, the merger of Manipur into the Indian Union in 1949 also does not mention the exclusion of Ukhrul, Senapati, Mao, Nipamacha said. Regarding the development of hill areas, Nipamacha said it has been only 28 years since Manipur attained statehood in 1972. Within this short period, two MLAs from Ukhrul had been Chief Ministers for more than 12 years. Many of the MLAs from the hills also became Cabinet Ministers in charge of works, he said indirectly blaming them for the backwardness of the hill areas. He however said his Government was working for the development of the Naga inhabited areas. (The Sangai Express, E-Pao; Imphal; August 17, 2000)
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Shillong under curfew after sporadic firing
SHILLONG, August 16: The Meghalaya capital was put under curfew early this morning after underground militants opened fire at many places in the city between last night and the early hours of Wednesday. A CRPF havildar, AK Singh, was killed in one of the incidents involving the underground Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC). Lance Naik Ramdeodin was injured in the incident. Alarm bells began to ring in the government when a series of such incidents were reported from areas near Raj Bhavan, Laban and Nongthymmai. Finally, the East Khasi Hills District Magistrate, L Roy, clamped a 24-hour curfew from 5 am today in Shillong. However, another incident of firing was reported tonight from downtown Shillong near a CRPF camp at Polo. The attack was repulsed. During the day-long combing operations, the police claimed to have arrested one of the HNLC militants responsible for the incident in which a CRPF man was killed. Last night at 9.50 pm, an armed group had opened fire on a CRPF picket at Motpran and escaped. Another group had opened fire in Umsohsun locality which is just a stone's throw away from the site of the first incident. Random firing took place in some parts of the town till late on Tuesday night but with few casualties. The HNLC had called a 36-hour bandh on the eve of Independence Day. Though the official Independence Day function was held as scheduled and Chief Minister E K Mawlong unfurled the national flag and took salute at Polo ground, public attendance was negligible. Two days before Independence Day, the police had received intelligence reports that the HNLC and NSCN(IM) might attempt to disrupt Independence Day celebrations in Shillong. The police had made stringent security bandobast to ensure that the celebrations passed off peacefully. Justifying the imposition of curfew in the city, state home minister TH Rangad said the indiscriminate firing by armed groups in different parts of the capital till 1 am on Wednesday had necessitated the step. He told reporters that the firing took place in populated and residential areas, thereby endangering lives. He said though incidents of exchange of fire between militants and security forces had taken place earlier too, on Tuesday night hundreds of rounds were fired from sophisticated weapons within an hour. Curfew was imposed to enable the security forces to launch combing operations without endangering the public. The state government today sent a request to the Centre for immediate sanctioning of three companies of CRPF to augment its security strength. The Special Operation Team (SOT) has launched a massive combing operation to flush out members of HNLC and NSCN(IM). East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police GHP Raju said the police had identified some pockets which it was raiding. He said he was convinced that the NSCN(IM) had participated in last night's shooting along with the HNLC. Chief Minister Mawlong today held an emergency meeting at his residence with Rangad, chief secretary JP Singh, home secretary GP Wahlang and DGP BK Dey Sawain to review the situation. Immediately after he took over as Chief Minister, Mawlong had given a call to the HNLC and Achik National Liberation Council (ANVC) to come to the negotiating table. However, five months later the underground groups have not responded to the appeal. (Tilak Rai; The Indian Express; New Delhi; August 17, 2000)
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Shillong tense, curfew continues
SHILLONG, August 17: With the militants continuing indiscriminate firing in some localities of the city last night in defiance of the 24-hour curfew, the administration has indefinitely extended the curfew during night hours with relaxation from 5 am to 5 pm. Police sources said there was another exchange of fire between the ultras and the Police and CRPF forces at Jaiaw Langsning area of the city last night during curfew hours besides shooting incidents in several other localities. Security in the state capital has been further beefed up with the deployment of three more companies of CRPF men in the sensitive areas, East Khasi Hills District SP, GHP Raju told The Assam Tribune today. The combined forces have been put on 'long route' patrolling and combing operations.' He informed that 'selective' house searches were carried out last night at Mawlai Mawdatbaki, Jaiaw Langsning, Lawsohtun, Jiengkieng and upper Motinagar areas on the basis of intelligence. However, none were arrested in these raids. "It is a matter of time that they will be nabbed as we will continue to mount pressure on them", he claimed but admitted "the task is difficult till we secure full support of the people." The city was back to normal today during the curfew relaxation period from 5 am to 5 pm. Schools, offices, banks, shops and bazars re-opened but closed much before the usual time to enable the people to reach the safety of their homes before curfew again went into force at five this evening. Curfew would be relaxed again from 5 am to 5 pm tomorrow. It was, however, unclear how long the 'night' curfew would continue. How long will it take to flush out the ultras from the city? No police officer is willing to make even a guess. SP Raju said that though there are hardly twenty or so hardcore HNLC ultras besides a handful of NSCN militants involved in the shooting incidents in the past two days, the terrain made it extremely difficult for the police and security forces to operate. CRPF IGP, PN Ramakrishnan felt that it would be impossible to root out the militants till the local populace come out openly to oppose them. "That stage is probably yet to arrive in Meghalaya", he candidly observed. (Special Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 18, 2000)
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NSCN(IM) apologises to public for its 'excesses'
KOHIMA, August 17: Nagaland Chief Minister SC Jamir has expressed happiness over NSCN(IM) tendering apology to the public for "excesses" committed by its cadres, but asserted that such gesture should be translated into reality. "I am happy that NSCN(IM) apologised to public for excesses committed by its cadres, but mere tendering apology does not serve the purpose unless they stop all antisocial activities henceforth to make the ceasefire a meaningful exercise," Jamir asserted by hoisting the national flag at Kohima local ground on Independence Day. The day passed off peacefully with no reports of any untoward incident even as several militant outfits of the region announced a boycott call of the Independence Day celebration. In a message to Naga people, NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chishi Swu said, "I on behalf of my comrades-in-common cause and my own behalf humbly apologise to the people for the excesses committed by NSCN cadres." But he asserted that "Naga nation" would have perished long time back had there been no NSCN at the right time and the right place. NSCN(IM) chairman conveyed his message on the occasion of "Naga Independence Day" on the eve of Indian Independence Day. Naga National Council (NNC), which pioneered underground movement in the region, declared Naga independence on August 14, 1947, all the underground organisations here reportedly observed this day in different parts of Nagaland by hoisting their flags. Insisting on unity and understanding among all sections of Naga society, Jamir called upon all the underground factions to immediately stop factional killings, kidnapping, extortion and intimidation. He also appealed to NSCN(K) and NNC (Federal) to sign ceasefire agreements with the Centre without any delay so that a congenial atmosphere can prevail in Nagaland. "I appeal to all sections of Naga society on this auspicious day to put their heads together to chart out of a new path of peace and prosperity in this land," the Chief Minister said. Claiming that his government will do all possible to bring unity among the Nagas, Jamir asserted a free atmosphere should prevail in the state so that everyone can not forward his views and opinions on the Naga political problem the Chief Minister also called upon the Centre to include all the underground groups under the purview of the current peace process. "Unless all groups are included, no peace can prevail in this land," Jamir asserted. The Chief Minister asserted no one will be allowed to "subjugate" the Naga society in the name of independence and sovereignty, and Nagas of Nagaland must have one single voice to negotiate with the Centre for finding an amicable settlement of the Naga political problem without "interference from outsiders". (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 18, 2000)
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Situation eases in Naga villages in Ukhrul
IMPHAL, August 17: Situation in some villages in Ukhrul district which was war like situation with the Assam Rifles virtually imposing 'curfew' in these villages in the aftermath of the killing of a Lt Colonel and three other personnel in Senapati district in an ambush last month has eased to a certain extent. According to villagers and village headmen the situation has considerably improved following immense pressure from the public and the district authority decided to ease the intensified security measures undertaken by the Assam Rifles. "Frequent landing of choppers and random firing in the jungles of Theiva village has been stopped", said Captain Ajay Singh of Assam Rifles. The AR official said the shooting in the jungles was necessitated to flush out those militants who were suspected to have been hiding in jungles. Although situation has taken a turn for the better, deployment of heavy security forces in Ukhrul and Senapati still continues. At the Talloi army checkpost minute checking and frisking of passers by still continue unabated greatly inconveniencing the general populace. Even government officials were detained the SDO and SDPO were detained and restricted from passing the gate when they had gone to conduct a spot inquiry at Kachai and Theiva recently, said sources. (The Sangai Express, E-Pao; Imphal; August 18, 2000)
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POT Bill act puts Nipamacha in a tight spot
IMPHAL, August 17: Chief Minister Wahengbam Nipamacha cut a sorry figure before the press and the public when he admitted having supported the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000 at the Centre blindly. The infamous Bill- in short known as POT- in its raw form as of date is being described by human right defenders as a replacement to the notorious TADA which got lapsed at the close of the last millennium. When the Chief Minister admitted that he did not go through the details of the proposed Bill while saying 'yes' to its enactment as legislation, he was saying that the Manipur Government would not care less for the plight of people here. The Armed Forces Special Power Act, 1958 has since been a bone of contention between leaders and public with the later decrying the Act which empowered the armed forces to exercise unrestrained powers while dealing with counter insurgency in the state. Human right defenders view the proposed Bill as a further exercise of the government in dealing with the insurgency issue in a rather harsh manner- use force to curb dissidence. Among some of the possibilities were detention of suspects on mere suspicion, arrest and detention without trail, seizure of properties belonging to the arrested individual (s), crackdown on the press, law practitioners and human right defenders, and immunity to security forces. So, when CM Nipamacha said he did not realised POT's content while raising an affirmative hand of support to the Centre's proposal, it was like saying he knew nothing of the extra- judicial killings and molestation of women by the security forces, nor of the people's protest on the streets in the last decade. (The Sangai Express, E-Pao; Imphal; August 18, 2000)
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He gave his life to build up resistance against militants, gets Shaurya Chakra
GUWAHATI, August 17: When Umesh Rabha, first called upon his fellow villagers at Thamna Bazar, a remote weekly haat in the northern region of Lower Assam's Nalbari district to refuse to pay money to the militants, the villagers thought he had gone mad. How could the unarmed villagers say no to the armed militants, they thought. But Rabha was not a person to give up hope so easily. He had a Border Security Force background, where he had served for ten years before returning to his native villager to set up a small shop. And he went ahead mobilising the people. That was in December, 1998, when the ULFA and Bodo rebels had slammed a systematic extortion chart on the petty traders of Thamna Bazar. They had fixed different rates for different types of trades, beginning with Rs 1000 for the bigger grocery store to Rs 50 from the boy who charged rupee one for filling air in a bicycle tube. Rabha went from house to house, urging the people to get united a come out to say a big No. This effort culminated in a peace meeting in the haat on December 26, 1998, where about 500 people turned up, not a small figure going by the size of the haat itself. Umesh Rabha himself presided over the meeting, and made other prominent villagers and shop-keepers to speak out against the militants." We will not pay a single paise," the villagers resolved, with the message being sent out to the extortionist groups by way of hand-written posters, for which Rabha himself paid from his pocket. Five days later, Rabha took out a bicycle procession from Thamna Bazar, which made a round of six to seven neighbouring villages, with about 2,000 men, both young and old joining him. The message spread like wild fire through the Nalbari countryside, as also into the villages of adjoining Barpeta district. And Rabha became an instant hero. He began getting invitations from the neighbouring villages to address anti-militancy meetings, as also to lead cycle processions, and within the next one month, reports of at least half a dozen such peace rallies began to pour into the local media in Guwahati, initially getting carried in the inside pages. Encouraged by the response, he also set up a Santrash Virodhi Gana Manch, with similar bodies spontaneously propping up in the neighbouring villages too. The militants on their part got wary, and also enraged at what Rabha was beginning to do. Identifying Rabha as a potential threat to their extortion spree, the militants first issued a threat to him, but he refused to budge an inch. The Nalbari district administration offered him personal security. "But Rabha refused to take it, saying that would unnecessarily project him as an officially sponsored person," recalled Apurba Jivan Barua, the then Superintendent of Police, Nalbari. By the end of January, 1999, two armed militants arrived in Thamna Bazar under the cover of darkness, and made an attempt on Rabha's life. But he had a miraculous escape. Six months later, in July, they shot at him again. This time he sustained two bullet injuries, was removed to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital, and his life was saved. On recovery, Rabha's zeal shot up manifold, with more young people from the area coming out to support him. "The local boys even started providing an unarmed cover to Rabha, in order to save him from another attack," Barua, now SP of Dhubri district recalled. And the resistance movement began to spread across the length and breadth of Assam. Rabha's message was so well picked up by the people in even the far-away districts, that in some places the people even started catching hold of the militants and handing them over to the security forces. "In 1999, as many as 26 militants were caught by the people, beaten up and then handed over to the security forces," said Khagen Sharma, DIG (Special Branch) of the Assam Police. And in the current year, as many a seven militant youths have been done to death by the common man, Sharma said, pointing out that this was a never-before phenomenon in insurgency-infested Assam. But luck soon began to run out for Umesh Rabha. On November 13, 1999, some 20 militants, all dressed in army uniform, arrived in Thamna Bazar, raided his house and shot him dead. "I have lost my husband, but I am proud that his life has changed the very mood of the people against militancy," said Purnima Rabha, his widow, who now runs the cloth store her husband had set up in Thamna Bazar. Rabha's sacrifice has been finally recognised by the government with the conferment of a Shaurya Chakra on him on the occasion of the Independence Day this year. What a series of psychological campaigns by the government and the army could not do in ten years since the ULFA was banned in 1990, one courageous man in an interior village could do it: motivate the common man to withdraw support to the militants. (Samudra Gupta Kashyap; The Indian Express; New Delhi; August 17, 2000)
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Shillong limping back to normalcy
SHILLONG, August 18: Barring a single incident of exchange of fire between Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militants and police and CRPF in curfew-bound state capital here last night, the city appeared to be limping back to normalcy today. None was injured in the exchange of fire at Mawprem in the city around 10 pm yesterday, police sources said. The police and security forces kept up the pressure on the ultras by continuing raids in several pockets in Nongthymmai, Rynjah, Nongaynsong and jungles around the sprawling campus of the Northeastern Hill University (NEHU). Other localities like Laban, Lawsohtun, Bishnupur and Mawprem witnessed intensive patrolling by the CRPF men besides checking of vehicles. The operation, launched on the night of August 15, has, however, not succeeded in nabbing ultras reportedly holed-up in the city. The police source, claimed the HNLC ultras are fleeing the city unable to withstand the tremendous pressures put on them," With their ammunition stock running out, the HNLC is now desperately looking at the NSCN to bail them out, they said. (Special Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 19, 2000)
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Naga bodies submit memo to PM: Suspend Army operations in Senapati, Ukhrul
IMPHAL, August 18: Four Naga voluntary organisations - the United Naga Council (UNC), All Naga Students Association, Manipur (ANSAM), Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and Naga Women's Union, Manipur (NWUM) - have urged the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to suspend the ongoing massive Army operations in Senapati and Ukhrul districts of the state. In a joint memorandum to the Prime Minister, the Naga bodies warned that this war-like situation has high potential to derail the ongoing peace process between the Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM). Lauding the extension of the ceasefire between the two sides to move forward with the peace process, the four bodies requested both the parties to exercise utmost restraint. They also appealed to both the NSCN(IM) and Indian government to avert creating a war-like situation in any part of the Naga-inhabited areas as manifested in the intra-district border areas of Senapati and Ukhrul in the aftermath of the ambush on 3 Assam Rifles personnel near Chakumai-Tadubi area on National Highway 39 on July 30 by suspected Naga underground activists. It may be recalled here that Lt Col PNT Nair and three other jawans of 3 AR were killed in the ambush. The memorandum of the four Naga bodies further expressed deep regret and anguish over the killing and counter-killing as in the cases of brutal massacre of 12 Naga army on July 11 at Bhelpunji village in North Cachar Hills district of Assam by 17 Para Field regiment and the counter-ambush resulting in the death of said Lt Col Nair and three jawans of Assam Rifles. Following the ambush on NH 39 by the suspected Naga militants, the Assam Rifles has sealed off all inter-village communications in Senapati and Ukhrul districts thereby restricting free movements of goods and people which have greatly inconvenienced the people of the two districts. This is done without the knowledge of the civil administration of both the district authorities, said the memorandum. Villagers are kept confined either inside the community halls or churches and they are not allowed to tend to their livestock and farms, on the pretext of tracking down the people responsible for the ambush, the memorandum said. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 19, 2000)
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Nipamacha likely to press Centre for clear-cut policy on Naga truce extension to Manipur
IMPHAL, August 19: The state Chief Minister Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh is expected to urge the Central government for a clear-cut policy on the contradictory statements issued by the NSCN(IM) and Government of India in connection with the extension of ceasefire to Manipur. Nipamacha Singh will be leaving Imphal for New Delhi on August 20 to attend a meeting of the 11th Finance Commission and another meeting convened by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. During his visit to New Delhi, the Chief Minister is going to apprise the matter relating to the threat issued by the NSCN(IM) to the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani. The Chief Minister came to know that the NSCN(IM) had listed him as an obstacle for them regarding extension of ceasefire to Manipur. Nipamacha learnt the matter as per the intelligence reports received recently. Nipamacha Singh also confirmed that he had received an intelligence report that NSCN(IM) might attack him for his opposition to extension of ceasefire to Manipur. The security ring around Nipamacha Singh had been doubled here. He had also been given special security cover while returning to Imphal from New Delhi via Calcutta recently. In view of this threat perception, Nipamacha has been listed in the Z-plus security category. When asked about his personal security guards during a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Nipamacha asserted that he was not ready to engage the NSG personnel like Black Cat commandos as his security guards even though he was listed in the Z-plus category. (Staff Reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 20, 2000)
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6 HNLC militants nabbed in Shillong
SHILLONG, August 19: In the first major breakthrough since the state capital went under curfew on August 16, six Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militants were nabbed yesterday in continuing raid and combing operations in the city. Despite the setback, the militants were still in a defiant mood. They opened fire at patrolling parties at four different places at Jaiaw Langsning, Jaiaw Mawbynnah, near Robert Hospital and Mawlai between 10.30 pm and 11.15 pm yesterday. The combined CRP and Special Operations Team of Meghalaya Police returned the fire but there was no casualty on either side, Police sources said. The rest of the city remained peaceful. The curfew relaxation period from 4 am to 6 pm today witnessed heavy rush in the markets with both Central and state government offices, schools and colleges observing a holiday. Acting on a tip-off, a raiding party swooped down on the residence of a former member of Meghalaya Public Service Commission at Jaiaw Langsning and nabbed three HNLC militants. The MPSC member, who is the mother-in-law of Bobby Marwein, commander-in-chief of HNLC, initially resisted the entry of the security forces in her residence, sources said. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 20, 2000)
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Naga Hoho hails Swu's statement tendering apology to public
KOHIMA, August 20: Apex tribal council Naga Hoho has hailed the NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chishi Swu's statement tendering apology to public and expressing willingness towards reconciliation among underground factions. In a message on the occasion of 'Naga Independence Day', Isak Chishi Swu apologised for excesses committed by NSCN(IM) cadres but asserted the outfit had only upheld the Naga cause till date. Naga Hoho president M Vero called upon everyone who has been 'hurt' by NSCN(IM) actions to forgive. He also welcomed NSCN(IM) supremo's statement which will pave the way for reconciliation among the warring Naga underground groups. Naga political problem will never be solved unless there is forgiveness and reconciliation, Vero asserted. Referring to T Muivah's call from Bangkok jail that he does not want Nagas to kill Nagas anymore, Vero observed unless all Nagas are united, there could be no settlement to the problems plaguing Naga society. He claimed NSCN (K) wanted a stop to factional killings and NNC (Federal) was professing "non-violence" as its policy. Naga Hoho which has been trying its level best to bring some understanding among all the warring factions, maintained the government was also campaigning for peace and unity. "When everyone wanted peace, killings among Nagas must become a thing of the past," the Naga Hoho president maintained. Calling upon everyone not to commit the past mistakes, Vero insisted no one should disturb the process of reconciliation by issuing provocative statements against each other. "If any NSCN(IM) cadre feels that their chairman made a mistake by apologising before the public, then they will not have any 'cause' with support and goodwill of the Naga people," Vero pointed out. The Naga Hoho president also said, "I apologise if my actions as a leader of Naga National Organisation (NNO) and as an active overground politician for many years had hurt anyone." Vero was a former Rajya Sabha member and was an active member of now defunct regional political party NNO. He also pointed out it is time that "we start thinking about our children and future generation." Referring to the Semas of Zunheboto district, who declared the district as a "ceasefire zone", Vero called upon all other tribes to follow the same in their respective areas and appealed to all factions to declare ceasefire among themselves, besides security forces. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 21, 2000)
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NSCN(IM) recovers looted money, hands over to police
KOHIMA, August 20: An amount of Rs 21.7 lakh, out of Rs 23 lakh, looted by armed miscreants on Friday from the Dimapur branch of Punjab and Sind Bank in broad daylight, was recovered by the NSCN(IM) and the amount handed over to Dimapur Superintendent of Police on Friday night, reports UNI. Official sources said that Dimapur SP, sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Dimapur, and NSCN deputy kilonsers of ministry of information and publicity (MIP) DT John, trade and commerce Vizheto and Mankunga were present in the handing over function. The NSCN officials could not be contacted on how they recovered the looted amount. However, police investigation was on and a couple of suspected culprits were apprehended. The arrested manager of the Punjab and Sind bank was also granted bail, sources added. (United News of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 21, 2000)
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Naga truce extension to Manipur: state Cabinet decides to oppose move
IMPHAL, August 20: Manipur Cabinet has decided to oppose any move on the part of the Centre to extend the ceasefire between the NSCN(IM) and the government to "any part of Manipur including Naga-inhabited hill districts", report agencies. The state Cabinet in a meeting on Saturday decided to formally ask the Centre whether the ceasefire was applicable to Manipur, official sources said on Sunday. The truce between the Naga rebel group and the Centre was also discussed in detail particularly in the light of the reported statement of the NSCN(IM) that the ceasefire was extended to Naga-settled areas in Manipur. Although press reports, attributed to Union Home Ministry sources, said the ceasefire was in force in Nagaland only, the state government has decided to seek a detailed clarification from the ministry on the issue, the sources said. The Centre had informed Manipur in 1997 (during the signing of the ceasefire agreement) that it (ceasefire) did not extend to Manipur. But the Centre had not communicated anything new in this regard to the state after the extension of the ceasefire for one year from August 1 this year, the sources added. (Staff Reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 21, 2000)
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2 killed, 105 houses torched in Tripura violence
AGARTALA, August 20: Communal flare-ups erupted in Kanchanpur rural areas in North Tripura district on Saturday once again following an extremist attack. Two persons were killed in the violence while one person was severely injured and another kidnapped by the militants. Altogether 105 huts belonging to tribals were torched down at Pushpajayapara and adjoining tribal hamlets. Kanchanpur had in recent past witnessed a spurt in communal violence and militant attacks. However, reports reaching from the sub-division said the situation remained highly volatile. The entire Kanchanpur is reeling under high tension but no untoward incident took place today, said police. However, considering the prevailing mood security arrangements have been intensified. IGP (Law and Order) K Saleem Ali visited Kanchanpur today. A group of heavily armed tribal extremists suspected to be NLFT cadres stormed the Jayasree market around 11.30 am on Saturday. They first cordoned off the market then opened indiscriminate fire at the villagers from automatic weapons. (Staff Reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 21, 2000)
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Violence may end in Nagaland
NEW DELHI, August 20: The resumption of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG) by the Centre and the NSCN(IM) would put an end to violence and extortion plaguing the Northeastern state. The Centre expects the talks to lead to a conducive atmosphere for political talks. Talks had broken off after the Government expressed its "deep concern" at the continuing violation of the ceasefire by the NSCN(IM) which led to 536 deaths even after the ceasefire was announced in August '97. Of these, 165 persons lost their lives in inter-factional killings and 211 civilians were caught in crossfire. The current ceasefire between the Government and the NSCN(IM) has been extended for one year with effect from August this year. It was also agreed at the Dimapur meeting and subsequent interactions that the "agreed ground rules" for the ceasefire will be implemented in letter and spirit. Talks are currently going on with NSCN(IM) to make changes in the agreed ceasefire ground rules. The request for modifications were made by the Centre as well as the Nagaland Government. The Dimapur meeting was the first instance of intermediary-level talks between the two sides after seven months. The NSCN(IM) leaders were led by VS Atem and the Union Home Ministry delegation was led by the Special Secretary, RD Kapoor. Meanwhile in Manipur, the Chief Minister, Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh would seek clarification from the Centre whether the ceasefire between it and the NSCN(IM) extended to Manipur, official sources said today. Although . Singh, who left for Delhi today, was to attend a financial meeting he would discuss the issue with the Union Home Minister, LK Advani, sources said. The Manipur Cabinet, decided to oppose any move to extend the ceasefire between the NSCN(IM) and the Union Government to "any part of Manipur including the Naga-inhabited hill districts." (Press Trust of India; The Hindu; New Delhi; August 21, 2000)
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Optimism on ULFA's decline misplaced?
GUWAHATI, August 20: Officials manning counter-insurgency operations in Assam are divided over the theory that the ULFA is over the hump even as the state government began a hi-tech exercise to highlight the gradual slump in militancy and subsequent return of peace through audio-visual presentations. Many Unified Command managers including the Army's three former Corps Commander Lt Gen DB Shekhatkar had said that the ULFA's days were numbered. But a few police officials feel that it would be naive to underestimate the China and Pakistan-backed outfit, as was the case in 1993. A string of surrenders in 1992-93 led to the belief that the ULFA was finished, but some 40 hardcores stayed back in Myanmar and Bangladesh to regroup, go on a mass recruitment drive and launch a fresh offensive within three years. The spurt in ULFA activities led to the birth of the Unified Command in January 1997 comprising the Army, Assam Police and Central paramilitary forces. The pessimism about finishing off the 36-battalion strong ULFA has, however, been diluted with streaks of optimism following popular movements against militants in rural areas since mid-1999. Umesh Rabha of Thomna village in Nalbari district, who became the first civilian from the Northeast to receive the Shaurya Award, paid with his life for launching such a movement last year. Last month, people of Borbori Village in Morigaon district bludgeoned ULFA area commander Poalimoni and an associate to death. According to the official data made available through the audio-visual presentations, the security forces killed 15 hardcore ULFA and NDFB militants in 1996. The figure rose to 134 and 232 in the following two years, and fell to 202 last year. Till July this year, the number of ultras killed was 188. Something that the Government is keen on highlighting is the fall in incidence of terrorist violence and number of militant victims during the past three years. From an all-time high of 716 in 1998, incidents of terrorism came down to 474 last year, with the figure till July this year being 115. Militant killings peaked in 1998 with 482 but slumped to 266 last year. The first half of this year recorded 123 such cases. The Government has also patted itself for managing to bring 2258 militants back to the mainstream since late 1998. Of these, 1812 were ULFA cadres, 194 to the NDFB, 96 belonged to the Rabha National Security Force, 66 to the Karbi National Volunteers and 60 to the Bodo Liberation Tigers. Islamic militancy though the Unified Command believes that there are at least 26 ISI-backed militant outfits active in Assam to carry out a Jehad against India, the Assam Police has stumbled upon fresh evidence to establish the existence of five organisations. According to IGP, Special Branch, N Ramachandran, the arrest of 60 youths belonging to Islamic fundamentalist groups enabled the police to gather conclusive information on five outfits. These are the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam, Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam, Islamic Liberation Movement of Assam, Peoples' United Liberation Front and the Assam unit of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. "Many of these boys were lured into Pakistan via Bangladesh and given training in guerrilla warfare by the Pakistan army", Ramachandran said, adding that half a dozen of them fought the Kargil war on behalf of Pakistan. (Rahul Karmakar; The Hindustan Times; New Delhi; August 17, 2000)
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Meghalaya had plan to induct Army
SHILLONG, August 21: Meghalaya government had contemplated inducting the Army in the state capital as the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), a 'fledgling' militant outfit, went berserk and went on a shooting spree firing about 500 rounds at police in at least a dozen localities on the night of Independence Day, a senior official disclosed today. Going by the government's record of 'soft-pedalling' attitude in tackling the decade-old militancy problem convincing the political leadership on the need for a drastic step of bringing in the Army became a tough task and accordingly the move was dropped. Even as the militants were going on with the rampage in the city of six lakh, killing a CRPF havildar and injuring another in hit-and-run attacks, the government was huddled together - totally at a loss over its response. The militants started their 'operations; around 9 pm and the last incident of firing by the ultras was reported at 1 am on August 16 but it was 2 am when the political masters finally agreed that curfew must be imposed to prevent the situation from further going out of hand. Talking about the run-up to the curfew announcement on the morning of August 16, the top official said "lot of firm talk was required before the political leadership realised the gravity of the situation". He felt "the dithering in taking a firm decision was obviously in view of the political repercussions it may result in". Though the "counter-operation" launched by the state government against the outfit is yet to achieve any spectacular result so far except the nabbing of six ultras, observers see a turning-point in the militancy situation in the state from now on. "Now that the government has decided to tackle the problem head-on, there can be no turning back by the government", said a senior police official." This could turn out to be the beginning of the end for the HNLC", he predicted. Meanwhile, with no fresh incident reported during the last two nights, the East Khasi Hills District administration today announced a further relaxation in the curfew beginning tomorrow. The relaxation in the curfew will be from 4 am to 7 pm tomorrow. However, the night curfew will continue for some more days, a senior official indicated today. (Bedabrata Lahkar; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 22, 2000)
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Strange attitudes' regarding truce extension irks NSCN(IM)
GUWAHATI, August 21: The NSCN has takes a strong exception to the recent statements made by the Ministry of Home Affairs that the NSCN agreed to the extension of the ceasefire only within the so-called state of Nagaland. "The officials have said that our Chairman, Isak Chishi Swu, has claimed that the ceasefire would be extended to all Naga areas. We would like to put on record that neither our Chairman nor anyone in the NSCN had claimed anything other than what was negotiated and solemnly agreed upon by both the parties to the ceasefire extension agreement recently concluded in Bangkok," the NSCN said in a press release. "We agreed to the extension of the ceasefire because of the pressure put on us by our people and concerned Indian citizens. We agreed despite the fact that our cadres have been kidnapped and many were killed in cold blood despite the ceasefire. We even agreed not to specifically name the Naga areas to which the ceasefire would be extended even though all Naga areas are contiguous and our demand is historically well documented," the release, said. "However, just after the announcement of the extension of the ceasefire, the Government of India has gone back on its assurance given in Bangkok and stated that the ceasefire extends only to the so-called state of Nagaland. The Chief Minister of Manipur has also announced that there is no ceasefire in his state, either formally or informally. These are strange attitudes indeed. We would have thought that all those who support the peace process would be happy to have the ceasefire extended to all the Naga areas," the release, sent through e-mail, alleged. "Our patience is running out and we are in no mood to tolerate false promises or allow the Government of India to get away with such dishonesty," the release warned. (Staff Reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 22, 2000)
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Three of family among five hurt in AR assault
IMPHAL, August 21: Five persons including three of a family sustained injuries after an Assam Rifles party assaulted them when residents and meira paibis allegedly tried to stop the AR troop from taking away a student at Yumnam Khunou under Imphal East police station at around 10 am this morning. According to family members of the victims, an AR team came to the house of one Thangjam Kanhai in Yumnam Khunou this morning. Two Manipuri youths in civilian dress accompanied them. The personnel conducted a search at the house without any notice. When they could not find any suspecting materials from the house, they pulled off the photo of one of Kanhai's son from the wall and went outside. The AR personnel met Sanjoy a 17-year-old college student and tried to take him with them. A scuffle broke out between jawans and family members and meira paibis who tried to resist them saying Sanjoy is innocent. In the process, the jawans bashed them up and took Sanjoy away. However, when the residents kept following them, the AR troops left Sanjoy at Yumnam Patlou after beating him up severely. He was found unconscious and was taken to Hospital. Other meira paibis were also injured, they said. After the incident a meeting participated by the Khundrakpam constituency MLA and IFCD minister K Tomba, Imphal East SP, families of the victims and meira paibis was held at the Babupara quarters of the minister in connection with the incident. (The Sangai Express, E-Pao; Imphal; August 22, 2000)
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NSCN(IM) denies preparing 'hit list'
KOHIMA, August 22: The NSCN(IM) has clarified that it had never prepared any 'hit list' of VIPs to be eliminated, reports UNI. Nagaland Inspector General of Police C Kikon said in a release here that a team 'government of the peoples republic of Nagaland (GPRN)' representatives, led by K Chawang, made it clear to the ceasefire monitoring group meeting on Sunday last at Dimapur that the GPRN had never prepared such a 'hit list'. About the reported deployment of a 'task force' of 34 personnel to eliminate the Chief Minister and other VIPs, the representative said that no such task force had ever been raised, Kikon said. (United News of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 23, 2000)
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Pardon me, Muivah urges Thailand
BANGKOK, August 22: T Muivah today apologised to the Thai government and asked for a pardon so that he would pursue peace with the government of India. "I fully admit that all those acts of mine violate the law of the country of Thailand, and certainly I deserve to be punished accordingly," Muivah (66) said in a letter to the Prime Minister, Chuan Leekpai. "I am so sorry." A copy of the letter was released by supporters after Muivah appeared in court for trial on charges of travelling on a forged passport. Muivah was arrested on 19 January at Bangkok's international airport for travelling on a fake South Korean passport. Two immigration officers, who arrested him, testified today. After a three-hour session, the trial was adjourned till 22 September. In July this year, the NSCN and Indian negotiators extended the ceasefire by a year after secret talks in Bangkok. Muivah's supporters say that meaningful negotiations for a sustainable peace cannot continue as long as he is in jail. Muivah used the same argument in his letter to the Thai Prime Minister. "I am absolutely constrained to implore the mercy of your honour to come to my rescue and pardon me right away, so that I may safely pursue the course of the peace process," he wrote. An official from Chuan's office spoke on condition of anonymity that the Prime Minister cannot interfere with judicial proceedings. After his arrest at Bangkok's airport, Muivah jumped bail but was recaptured in the southern Thai town of Songkhla in February, where he was arrested and convicted on a separate passport violation, and sentenced to a year in prison. Apam Muivah, the NSCN leader's nephew, said hope for his uncle's early release was all but exhausted, but the trial had given his group a chance to publicise its cause. "I do not have much hope that he will be released because it is very difficult for Thailand to help us when it may jeopardise its relationship with India," he said. About three dozen supporters were in court today. "We hope Thailand will understand the political situation that forces (Muivah) to travel on a false passport," said Gina Shangkham, president of the Naga Women's Union, based in Manipur. (Associated Press; The Statesman; Calcutta; August 23, 2000)
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Centre mulls ban on Khasi militant outfit
SHILLONG, August 22: The Union home ministry is "seriously considering" banning the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, which has been carrying out hit-and-run operations in this capital city since the past week. The administration imposed a curfew after a series of encounters between the HNLC and the security forces. A Central Reserve Police Force havildar was killed and a constable injured in one of these incidents. HNLC militants had also ambushed superintendent of police (city) SS Kynjing's convoy on Independence Day. GK Pillai, joint secretary (Northeast affairs) in the Union home ministry, told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi today that the Meghalaya government had sought a ban on the HNLC. "The proposal is under consideration," he said. On the involvement of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) in the incidents here, the home ministry official said the security forces had been given a free hand to deal with the outfit. "Since Shillong is not in Nagaland, the security forces can take necessary steps against the NSCN(IM) without being accused of violating the ground rules of the Naga ceasefire," he said. Meghalaya chief secretary JP Singh, when contacted, refused to comment on the proposal to ban HNLC. "I cannot tell you anything on this," he said. According to intelligence reports and confessions made by some arrested militants, over a dozen NSCN(IM) rebels sneaked into the city between August 17 and 18 to "assist" the HNLC in subversive operations. The NSCN(IM) was instrumental in the formation of the Hynniewtrep A'chik Liberation Council in 1992. The outfit was rechristened the HNLC when the Garo youth in its ranks launched a separate movement. In return for training and providing weapons to HNLC activists, the NSCN(IM) takes the lion's share of the money extorted in Meghalaya. Naga militant leaders have been using Shillong as a "safe sanctuary" since the Fifties. (Anirban Roy; The Telegraph; Calcutta; August 23, 2000)
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HNLC ultra, 2 KSU leaders killed in encounter
SHILLONG, August 23: Two Khasi Students' Union leaders and a hardcore Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) ultra were killed in an alleged encounter with the Meghalaya Police at Nongshylliang in the city early today. A senior police officer said on condition of anonymity that the incident has conclusively proved the HNLC-KSU nexus. Senior police officials said that acting on a tip-off, a team of Special Operations Team (SOT) of Meghalaya Police surrounded a house at Nongshylliang around 1.30 am last night. When asked to surrender, the suspected ultras came out with blazing guns and in the ensuing gun-battle, two were killed on the spot while the third succumbed to injuries at the Shillong Civil Hospital around 9 am today. Sources claimed that two 9 mm pistols, some documents and photographs were recovered from the killed persons. But in their euphoria the police thought they had killed three NSCN(IM) ultras and made official announcements to the effect. The blunder was realised much later when the bodies were sent to the civil hospital for post-mortem and identification. To their dismay and discomfiture, the police found none of the killed were NSCN(IM) or Nagas but local Khasi boys. The bodies have since been identified as Dawanbiang Shullai, assistant finance secretary of Khasi Students' Union, Rocky Shylla, sports secretary, KSU, Wahthapbru unit and Balajied Dkhar alias Hepkhoit, area commander Shillong of the HNLC. As the news spread, a big crowd gathered at the civil hospital. Soon thereafter rumours of curfew being imposed immediately and shoot-outs in various localities, panic and tension gripped the city. By 3 pm shops and bazars closed down in a hurry and traffic went off the roads. By 6 pm today, it appeared as if curfew has started though relaxation in the curfew was to extend till 8 pm. The press corps had a harrowing time trying to get official confirmation of the incident as the police brass went incommunicado. The SP refused to talk saying 'I have been asked to shut up.' A press man who contacted the DGP this morning was told to wait for a press release being issued within thirty minutes. Till 7 pm it was yet to reach the press. Meanwhile, the KSU held an emergent meeting today to discuss the developments. KSU leaders contacted were unwilling to comment on the police accusation at the moment. Official circles said that the situation, which had begun to improve, may take a turn for the worse following today's incident. "We are, however, fully prepared to meet any situation", the sources said. The uneasy calm in Shillong, once famous for its peace and tranquillity, was shattered on the night of August 15 when the HNLC went on a shooting spree in the city killing a CRPF havildar and injuring a CRPF jawan. The administration imposed a 24-hour curfew the following day followed by night curfew which continues till date. (Bedabrata Lahkar; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 24, 2000)
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Meghalaya Govt to take tough stand
TURA, August 23: The Meghalaya Government is preparing to take a tough stand against Garo militants in the three districts of Garo hills following the failure of the militants to come forward for discussions in spite of the olive branch having been held out to them. A number of Garo ministers and MLAs of the ruling NCP-UDP combine have apprised Purno A Sangma, former Speaker of Lok Sabha and present MP of Tura, of the situation arising out of the fear psychosis prevailing in the Garo Hills. Speaking to this scribe a few days ago, Sangma had raised concern over this issue. Not one to take chances, the former Speaker while calling upon the militants to come to the negotiating table, has at the same time, called for the strengthening of the law-and-order machinery. Fear of militant strikes have increased in recent days following the failure of the bandh call given during the recent Independence Day celebrations. There are indications that the main Garo militant group, ANVC, will be going on an offensive targeting the police and paramilitary forces. Fear has also gripped some of the ministers who have now begun using the national highway route from Paikan rather than taking a chance through a shorter route via Kesubelpara, Damas, Damra and Mendipather, an area frequented by ANVC militants. With the recent seizure of RDX from the ANVC and the government's refusal to accept the ANVC demand for a separate Garoland, the situation is unlikely to cool down in these three districts. The ANVC has, over the months, gone on a massive extortion drive and recruitment of cadres. All shopkeepers and businessmen have been served demand notes ranging from not less than a lakh of rupees to sometimes even a crore. Even government officers have not been spared. This has created a situation where a number of projects have been left pending due to absence of officers and technical staff, who fear to tread the militancy prone areas. The largest revenue for the militants comes from the coal belt areas of Nangalbibra where they have imposed a tax on every coal-laden truck. The amount is believed to be in lakhs of rupees. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 24, 2000)
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1 killed, tea labourers wages looted by NLFT
AGARTALA, August 24: The insurgents of banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have killed one person and seriously injured another at Narendrapur tea garden in West Tripura district and looted Rs 1.10 lakh from there, police said here on Thursday, report agencies. Police said the ultras armed with sophisticated weapons raided the garden on Wednesday night and opened fire at the labourers when they were in a queue to receive their weekly wages. Police said one labourer died on the spot and another received severe bullet injuries. The ultras one their way back looted cash from the employees. Senior police officials have rushed to the spot and launched a combing operation. The Tripura unit of Tea Association of India (TAI) has condemned the incident and demanded adequate security in the gardens to save the tea industry from the insurgents. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 25, 2000)
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NSCN(IM) denies masterminding Shillong attacks
KOHIMA, August 24: The NSCN(IM) has refuted a news report that it has masterminded the attacks on August 15 in Shillong, reports UNI. A National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM) statement on Thursday said that there was no valid reason to target either the Meghalaya Chief Minister or any other minister. The statement released by the ministry of information and publicity of the underground outfit said that it had no official endorsements or assignment to operate in Meghalaya and described the allegation that the ministers and police officers of that state were on the hit-list of the NSCN, as totally baseless. It also clarified that there was no plan to hit any minister even in Nagaland or in any Naga areas. The NSCN release said that it was aware of what the Indian intelligence agencies and police were up to in Shillong in the guise of countering insurgency, particularly against the NSCN. Expressing strong concern over the plight of the Naga students in Shillong, it alleged that the students were made to suffer in the process of sanitising the situation, created out of international but unfounded reports. Random picking up of students from outside the state, with no obvious reason affected students' careers, besides mentally harming them, the statement said. Reiterating its commitment to the current peace process, the release said that the Indian intelligence agencies and police, instead of contriving ideas to subvert peace, should support all peace efforts everywhere and shun from terrorising the student community. Their unfounded reports should not entitle them to perpetrate any uncalled for action against all innocent students and the general public, the release added. (United News of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 25, 2000)
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I-cards proposal for NSCN(IM) top brass
NEW DELHI, August 24: Responding to complaints from the NSCN(IM) that their leaders and cadres were being harassed by security forces, the government has advised them to accept "identity cards". Valid throughout the state, these cards would be issued to important NSCN (I-M) functionaries after scrutiny by security forces. A home ministry spokesman said this offer was made during a meeting of the Cease Fire Monitoring Group in Dimapur on 20 August. NSCN(IM) cadres are already staying in designated camps - an idea which had been suggested by security forces for the Hizbul Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir. The agreed ground rules for ceasefire with Nagaland provide for designated camps where patrolling by security forces would be permitted only after due consultation with the monitoring mechanism. But there have been recent reports of NSCN(IM) cadres moving out of the camps for collecting "tax" and inter-factional fights. The outfit leaders were told that they could designate additional camps in case of space constraints in the existing ones. The meeting, held under the chairmanship of the additional secretary in the home ministry, PD Shenoy, also removed obstacles in the opening of a cease fire monitoring cell by the NSCN(IM) near Dimapur. "They expressed apprehensions due to surveillance and patrolling of the building chosen by them. But they agreed to open the cell after being assured that security forces would keep a distance," the spokesman said. A high-point of the meeting came when NSCN(IM) admitted it was responsible for an ambush on Assam Rifles. (Vinay Jha; The Statesman; Calcutta; August 25, 2000)
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Five killed in Kokrajhar blast
GUWAHATI, August 25: Five persons including two CRPF jawans were killed and four others injured when suspected ULFA militants blew up a truck carrying para-military personnel near Chaibari Tea Estate at Lalkura village under Basugaon police station in Kokrajhar district at around 5-45 am today. There were three suspected Adivasi militants, who were earlier apprehended by the CRPF from Durgamari village, among the five killed. The slain CRPF men were identified as constable Janardan Tirpahty and constable Shyambir Singh. Three of the four injured CRPF personnel were being treated in RN Brahma Civil Hospital in Kokrajhar while the other critically injured personnel was air-dashed to Army Base Hospital here by Army helicopter. Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner, Jones Ingti Kathar informed that a team of CRPF personnel of 125 Company based at Nayekgaon went to conduct raid in Lalkura in search of militants hiding there. Three suspected Adivasi ultras were apprehended by the CRPF personnel during the search operation and recovered a 9 mm pistol from them. While the CRPF personnel along with the apprehended ultras were returning from the village in a requisitioned truck along a kutcha road, militants triggered a remote-controlled improvised explosive device (IED) blowing up the truck. The Deputy Commissioner informed that the IED was planted on the road. The blast completely damaged the truck . Two CRPF personnel were killed on the spot. Large number of ammunition and a rifle belonging to the CRPF personnel were gutted in the fire that followed the blast. Kathar said the CRPF suspected involvement of ULFA militants behind the blast although the area is infested with Adivasi ultras who are not known to have expertise in handling IEDs. Meanwhile, bandh called by Adivasi Students Association (ASA) disrupted normal life in Adivasi-dominated areas in Gossaigaon sub-division today while impact of the bandh was partial in Kokrajhar town, according to the Deputy Commissioner. Kokrajhar Correspondent adds: The search party of the CRPF team were travelling in three vehicles. Two of the vehicles had a close shave while the requisitioned truck/positioned in the middle of the convoy was blown up in the impact of the blast. The impact of the blast left a four-feet deep crater with about nine-feet diameter on the road. The four injured CRPF personnel were identified as Sundar Lal, DS Mishra, RN Biswakarma and Kishen. Critically injured Sundar Lal was airdashed to Army hospital in Guwahati. Top civil and police officials of the district including Deputy Commissioner, JI Kathar, DIG, W Aao, Superintendent of Police, KK Sarma and CRPF officials rushed to the spot immediately after the blast. Massive combing operation has been launched in the areas to nab the culprits involved in the blast. (Staff Reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 26, 2000)
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Meghalaya Opp approves state Govt's action
SHILLONG, August 25: Meghalaya Government today received a shot in the arm when it secured approval of its actions in dealing with the 'abnormal' situation in the state capital, from all political parties in the state. An all-party meeting convened by state Chief Minister EK Mawlong here today appealed to the government to restore peace and normalcy and deal with the law and order problem very firmly. The state government was facing severe criticism from various NGOs including the powerful Khasi Students' Union, Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Peoples (FKJGP) and others for imposing curfew and allegedly gunning down three innocent local youths. The KSU has even demanded that the Mawlong government step down owning moral responsibility over the killings by the police. Yesterday, RG Lyngdoh of Congress charged the government with not taking the Opposition into confidence. Referring to the encounter at Nongshilliang on August 23 in which two KSU leaders and a HNLC ultra was killed, he said 'I was not informed of the incident even after the operation concluded though I happen to be the local MLA.' The meeting, which was attended by leaders from all political parties barring the Garo National Council (GNC), which has only one MLA, also appealed to all militant outfits in the state to come forward and openly discuss their grievances with the government. Briefing newsmen after the meeting, state Finance Minister, AH Scott Lyngdoh said the political parties' leaders also resolved to appeal to all NGOs, religious leaders and local 'durbars' to join hands together to restore peace in the state capital. The meeting also sought the cooperation of the Press urging them not to publish inflammatory materials without proper verification. Meanwhile, the curfew in the city entered the tenth day today. It would be relaxed from 4 am to 8 pm tomorrow as well. The administration felt relaxed today as the funeral of the killed HNLC ultra passed off peacefully at Mawprem cemetery. Balajiod Dkhar, number two in the armed wing of the HNLC, with his body wrapped in the outfit's flag, received a gun-salute from his comrades before his last remains was lowered into the grave. (Special Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 26, 2000)
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NSCN(IM)'s 'warning letter' open threat to peace, democracy: Jamir
KOHIMA, August 25: Nagaland on Thursday defended its remarks that the three former Indian premiers, who had appealed to the Centre to intervene in securing the release of NSCN(IM) general secretary T Muivah, were unaware of the ground realities in Nagaland "where violence is perpetrated by NSCN (IM), report agencies. The reiteration came at a Cabinet meeting called following NSCN's "warning letter", recently published in the local press, demanding the state government to prove its observation within two weeks. Describing the outfit's "warning letter" as an open threat to peace and democracy, the meeting, presided over by Chief Minister SC Jamir, has decided to ask the state police to make public the statistics and records of violence unleashed by the outfit. The Cabinet meeting said violence was not only a matter of record but also a "common knowledge" among the people. Discussing the rebel letter asking the state government to clarify "certain points" within two weeks, a resolution adopted at the meeting said, "The NSCN(IM) statement in the form of warning is tantamount to an open threat and clear intimidation and is against al norms of democratic and responsible behaviour." Earlier, former Prime Ministers VP Singh, HD Deve Gowda and Chandrasekhar had appealed to the Centre to intervene and secure the release of Muivah from a Bangkok jail. The meeting also urged the Government of India and the NSCN(IM) to observe the ceasefire in letter and spirit. (Agencies; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 26, 2000)
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2 INF militants lay down arms
IMPHAL, August 25: Two armed activists of the Islamic National Front (INF) on Thursday surrendered to the Assam Rifles Deputy Inspector General, Brig Mukesh Sabharwal here. Welcoming the surrender, Brig Sabharwal said it was good that the underground activists had realised the futility of indulging in violent activities. The surrendered cadres have been identified as Mohammad Ejhar Chisti alias Bosnia (19), son of Abdul Hamid of Kshetrigaon and Mohammad Pothey alias Tomba (24), son of Mohammad Hanif of Kshetrigaon. Bosnia is reported to be the town commander of INF while Tomba is the personal guard of Bosnia. Bosnia surrendered with one AK-47 rifle, one magazine and 20 rounds of AK-47 ammunition while Tomba surrendered with one country-made carbine, one magazine and 5 round of 9 mm ammunition. Sources said Mohammad Bosnia had joined the INF on July 6, 1998 and had undergone training at Singhat in Churachandpur district while Mohammad Tomba had joined the organisation in December 1999. Mohammad Tomba also received formal training outside Manipur. The commandant of 12 Assam Rifles, Col RS Parmer, was also present in the surrender ceremony held at Kangla. Meanwhile, six members of three outlawed organisations have been nabbed by the police commandos of Imphal West and Thoubal districts from different parts of the state. The arrested PLA members are L Ojit alias Tete (22) of Lamding Khunou, Sorasiam Somendro alias Nanao (18) of Shairemkhun Polangchoi Sabal and Konsam Boy alias Romesh (18) of Huidrom Mayai Leikai. They were nabbed from Lamshang area on Tuesday morning. The UNLF members, who were arrested by Imphal West commandos, are Sanasam Rahi alias Lanpuba (19) of Pishum Oinam Leikai and Thokchom Ithoi alias Sunil (30) of Naharup Kangchup road. Both of them were apprehended on Wednesday morning, police said. The KYKL(T) member, who was arrested by the Thoubal police commandos on Wednesday morning, has been identified as Heikrujam Amuba alias Jillangamba (18) son of Sagor of Tera Khongshangbi Leiram Leirak. He was arrested from Athokpam Bazar. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 26, 2000)
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Meghalaya rules out deployment of Army in capital
SHILLONG, August 25: The Meghalaya government on Thursday ruled out deployment of Army to tackle the situation in the state capital, hit by violent incidents since August 15, reports PTI. "The present situation doesn't warrant such a step as to call the Army," state Information and Public Relation Minister A H Scott Lyngdoh said referring to reports published in a section of the press that Army will be called into flush out the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militants who had killed a CRPF havildar and injured another at Mothpran point on the night of August 15. Asked why it took 17 hours for the authorities to confirm, that three militants killed in an 'encounter' at Nongrim late in the night of August 22 belong to HNLC, the Minister said, 'The press will be briefed properly and on time if similar kind of situation arises in future.' The police top brass had initially said that three NSCN(IM) militants had been killed. On the withdrawal of night curfew in the city, imposed to restore normalcy in the state capital, hit by encounter between security forces and militants at several points since August 15, Lyngdoh said the East Khasi Hills district magistrate was monitoring the situation. (Press Trust of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 26, 2000)
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Army comes to rescue: Adivasi mob attacks Jamugurihat PS
JAMUGURIHAT, August 26: Jamugurihat police had to resort to lathicharge and blank fire to drive away an agitated and armed mob of about 500 Adivasi people when the mob attempted to take away eleven persons picked up by the police from Naduar Reserve Forest area yesterday in connection with an Adivasi Security Force training camp in the said reserve forest. The situation in and around the Jamugurihat Police Station became such at around 1.30 pm today that at a time it seemed that the police station was on the verge of being over run by the agitated mob which was armed with slings, choppers and other weapons. Only two personnel - Second officer Anisuz Zaman and a sentry were there inside the premises. The mob damaged a wall of the PS building and tried to take away the eleven persons picked up by the police yesterday. Personnel from the 13 Grenadiers of the Indian Army rushed from their Itakhola Camp to assist the Jamugurihat police on hearing the news of the attack on the PS and helped in bringing the situation under control. In the melee, 12 members of the mob were injured and altogether 56 persons, including three women, were arrested in connection with the incident. Additional SP (Hq), Sonitpur, Pradip Kar and SDPO, Biswanath Chariali Arnab Deka are presently camping at the Police Station and the situation is under control now, police sources here said. Today's situation resulted from the angry reaction of the Adivasis of Naduar area to the police action of picking up eleven persons by the Jamugurihat police under the leadership of Additional SP, Sonitpur, Pradip Kar, after busting an Adivasi Security Force training camp in the Naduar Reserve Forest on the Assam-Arunachal border. Though four of the militants of the outfit fled the camp along with their captive Sandananda Dey, a businessman of Rangachakua area, whom the outfit abducted from Randupan under Jamugurihat PS on July 17 last and demanded a ransom of Rs 5 lakh for his release, the cook of the camp Alumoni Dang (25) and another associate of the outfit's militants Jigang Dang (30) were picked up from the camp by the police. Other nine persons were also picked up by the police from the Naduar Reserve Forest area following yesterday's operation. Jigang Dang was arrested later when his involvement in the outfit's activities was confirmed. Our Tezpur Correspondent adds: All those arrested in connection with the Naduar training camp of the Adivasi Security Force and in connection with today's incident in the Jamugurihat PS have been forwarded to judicial custody. Tension still prevails in Jamugurihat area and additional security forces have been deployed there. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 27, 2000)
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Naga truce doesn't exist in Manipur, says Nipamacha
IMPHAL, August 26: Chief Minister Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh has once again reiterated that no formal or informal ceasefire between the NSCN(IM) and Government of India exists in the state of Manipur. Disclosing this to a select group of newsmen at his official residence just after arriving from New Delhi on Thursday, Nipamacha Singh said that the Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani also categorically ruled out the existence of informal ceasefire in Manipur, which was conveyed by an Army officer. The Chief Minister said that protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur as not a personal matter but concerned the people of the state, and added that his United Front Ministry was committed to protecting the territorial integrity of the state. Highlighting on the recent meeting of the 11th Finance Commission in which he took part, Nipamacha asserted that funds allocated for developmental projects in the state had been drastically cut while in some cases the 11th Finance Commission had failed to sanction even a single penny. Giving vent to this dissatisfaction with the finance panel recommendations, the Chief Minister wondered whether the decision was intentional or it was simple indifference to the affairs of the state. He also added that the Union Finance Minister had informed him personally that the recommendations of the commission were not final and a decision would be taken only after ironing out the creases and after minutely going through the report of the 11th Finance Commission. Emphasising the lacunae in the interim report of the commission, Nipamacha said that the commission had totally ignored the Loktak Development Authority (LDA). Nipamacha further said that the 10th Finance Commission had allotted Rs 30 crore to LDA and the LDA had judiciously utilised Rs 27 crore. He said the state government was committed to developing the Loktak lake. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 27, 2000)
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Involve Nagaland govt in peace talks, Cong urges PM
NEW DELHI, August 26: Congress on Friday appealed to Prime Minister AB Vajpayee to involve the Nagaland Government in all the peace talks and negotiations with various Naga underground outfits, reports UNI. A party delegation met the Prime Minister is engaged in pace negotiations with one group and the state government is not kept in the picture, they said. They recalled the state Cabinet's demand that before any negotiations, normal rules of ceasefire should apply. The Cabinet also pointed out that the demand of three former Prime Ministers for the release of NSCN(IM) chief T Muivah was unwarranted as they were not aware of the full facts. Assassinations, kidnappings, extortions, robberies and forcible collections were the order of the day in Nagaland, being committed by the underground outfits, they said. These outfits also have threatened the state Cabinet with hard actions if their demands were not met within two weeks. The delegation included Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Madhavrao Scindia, PR Das Munshi, Oscar Fernandes, Tarun Gogoi, Santosh Mohan Dev, Ambika Soni. (United News of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 27, 2000)
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Top Army officers monitoring Tripura insurgency: Malik
AGARTALA, August 26: Chief of Army Staff General VP Malik informed Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar that the senior Army officers were closely monitoring the insurgency scene in the state, report agencies. General Malik, who came here on Friday as part of his north-eastern states visit, met the Chief Minister on Friday evening and discussed the insurgency problems in the Northeastern region and Jammu and Kashmir. The Army Chief left here on Saturday morning by a special aircraft. Official sources said here that Defence Minister George Fernandes was likely to visit the state on August 30. The Tripura government has been demanding deployment of three battalions of Army to intensify counter-insurgency operation against the tribal guerrillas. Meanwhile, one person was killed and two persons were kidnapped by the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura in separate incidents, even as securitymen were still searching to locate four schoolteachers picked up on Thursday by the militant outfit. The NLFT ultras on Thursday night shot dead a villager at his home in West Tripura's Bodhjang nagar, the police said, adding that the same militants earlier abducted two persons from Atharobhola village in South Tripura. The NFLT released one of the two persons kidnapped on August 12 from Chandranagar colony in West Tripura district, the police said. They said the massive search operation launched by the security personnel to rescue the teachers was continuing. The teachers of a government school were kidnapped from a bus near Quaifung area in South Tripura on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, the jawans of CRPF (2nd battalion) on Thursday night rescued an abducted person from the clutches of the NLFT ultras after a 15-minute encounter, the police said. (Agencies; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 27, 2000)
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Vehicles go off Imphal-Moreh sector of NH-39 in protest
IMPHAL, August 26: The private vehicles and all kinds of passenger buses and Tata Sumos have stopped plying on the Imphal-Moreh sector of the National Highway 39 in protest against collection of illegal road tax by the suspected NSCN(IM) cadres. The Bus Owners' Association of the Imphal-Moreh line has decided not to ply their vehicles, sources said here on Saturday. Sources further added that well armed youths suspected to be members of the banned NSCN(IM) had rounded up a number of passenger vehicles along the NH-39 on Friday. The armed youths had told the drivers that if they wanted to ply on the Imphal-Moreh sector of NH 39, each of them should pay Rs 5,000 per annum as road tax to the NSCN(IM). This is in addition to the goods tax and passengers tax, sources added. Meanwhile, on receipt of the news, additional forces from Imphal were rushed to Thamnapokpi area on the NH-39 where the vehicles were detained by the armed men. It is also learnt that the additional forces of Manipur Police could not proceed beyond the Pallel check-post in the initial stage. However, the team later contacted the BSF party posted at Pallel and a large convoy of security force was reportedly made. The troop then proceeded towards Thamnapokpi and Boljang areas. By the time the convoy reached the area, the suspected cadres of NSCN(IM) had already vanished from the scene. The angry passengers were trudging towards Pallel when the police team arrived. According to a reliable source, the armed insurgents had asked the drivers of the passenger vehicles to summon the president and secretary of the association for a formal communication on the new rate of road taxes. Meanwhile, in a crackdown, the commandos of the Imphal West district police nabbed two members of the banned NSCN(IM) from North ACC around 8.30 pm on Thursday. The arrested members were identified as Jims Rengmei (25) of a Makhel village in Senapati district and his colleague K Jessy (35) of Phungreitang village in Ukhrul district. They have been arrested for the first time, police said. The personnel of Imphal East district police also arrested five members of the outlawed PREPAK from different parts of the state on Thursday. The police team also recovered 2 AK-47 rifles one M-22 rifle and two wireless sets. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 27, 2000)
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MHRC tells police to locate arrested boy
IMPHAL, August 26: The MHRC has taken up the case of a youth missing after being picked up by Assam Rifles and asked the state police to locate the arrested persons. One Salam Ranbir Singh, 20, resident of Uripok Sorbon Thingel Leikai and BA first year student of Liberal College, was reportedly picked up by the Assam Rifles personnel in the early hours today from his residence without handing over any arrest memo to his family. In a complaint petition filed with the Manipur Human Rights Commission, MHRC, father of the arrested, alleged that his son Ranbir was arrested from his house in the early hours of August 25 by Assam Rifles personnel, believed to belong to 17th Bn, without giving any arrest memo. He was severely beaten up and thereafter abandoned at Uripok road from where he was taken to the RIMS Hospital and given medical treatment and then brought back home by his relatives. Later on, the same security personnel came again to his house in the early hours today and arrested his son again and took him away without giving any arrest memo to his parents or relatives. When the later, worried about the personal safety of his son, rushed to the Imphal police station to seek information about his son, he was handed over an arrest memo which had been officially handed over by the AR team to the Imphal police station OC. Besides the name and rank of the arresting officer were missing in the said memo. This heightened his fear about the life and safety of his son. (The Imphal Free Press, E-Pao; Imphal; August 27, 2000)
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Bangkok has an efficient NSCN 'embassy'
BANGKOK, August 26: The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) has created and is running a very efficient and successful embassy in Bangkok. It has scores of Thai-speaking young people posted here. This unofficial embassy is even recognised by the government of India. On July 29 and 30, several top Indian officials came here from Delhi to hold talks with NSCN Steering Committee member Raising and others and signed an agreement with them to extend the ceasefire in Naga areas for a year. It was ending on July 31, this year. Delhi was concerned that if the ceasefire breaks down, the area might explode and become a theatre of armed conflict once again. Among those who came to Bangkok to hold these talks and sign an agreement with the NSCN, were the Prime Minister's emissary to talks with the NSCN, K Padmanabhaiah, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Shaymal Datta, one of his Joint Directors and others. They were to hold talks with NSCN General Secretary T Muivah, but since he was held in a Bangkok Remind Prison for his trial for trying to enter into Thailand on a forged passport, the talks could not take place. The Naga organisation has not appointed a replacement for Muivah and has announced that he alone will have the authority to hold peace talks with the government of India. The process of finding a peaceful solution to the Naga problem through talks has therefore been deadlocked for the time being. Muivah's release will break this deadlock. The NSCN is now a member of several international bodies, including the UN Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, the UN Human Rights Commission, and others. Its workers keep flitting through Bangkok, coming from meetings in New York, London, Amsterdam, Geneva and other places. They then go to Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta. , for their work. Bangkok is the hub of their activities. Officials of popular organisations like the Naga Hoho, come here to report to the NSCN leadership developments, discuss problems back home and get guidance. The NSCN unofficial embassy in Bangkok is more efficient than many others, including our own. This correspondent had the opportunity of seeing its functioning during the fourth hearing of Muivah's trial on August 22. It had lined up defence, including the best civil rights lawyer of Thailand Wasant Panich. Human rights activists of this country were working for them. One of them, Shanti Isaowuthakul, was NSCN the court interpreter. The Thai Friends of the Naga People then organised a symposium on the danger that looms over the Naga areas as a result of the Government of India's unwillingness to cover all of them with ceasefire, and keeping it restricted to the state of Nagaland only. The NSCN officials knew the Bangkok court complex, Thai court procedure and its requirements thoroughly. Several members of Naga NGOs had come from home to witness the trial. The NSCN officials had arrangements to pick them up at the airport, take them to hotels, look after them, let them visit the courtroom on time on the date of the trial, and, in the days that followed, get them to meet Muivah in the prison so that they could see and talk to him. Many foreign requirements of the NSCN government are met from here. It is well known that the NSCN brings in a fairly large quantity of arms to equip its battalions. Since arms are getting sophisticated, it sees to it that its soldiers get them and not remain saddled with antiquated and ineffective weaponry. It is its efficient officials in Bangkok who locate the source of new weapons, strike deals, make payments and organise their movement into Naga areas, by defeating government of India's surveillance mechanism to prevent their entry. If one examines the functioning of this 'embassy' and the NSCN that runs it, one would come to the conclusion that it will not be possible to break this organisation, which officials in Delhi dream of doing. Should Muivah continue to remain in jail, the organisation is not going to crack up. It has its inherent strength and flexibility and has capable people of the next generation lined up to lead it. This correspondent met some of them, like Raising, with whom the government of India had negotiations last month. The old generation of Nagas that had raised the banner of struggle is gone. Muivah is the second-generation leader. There is a third ready to carry it on. (Harish Chandola; The Hindustan Times; New Delhi; August 27, 2000)
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Death of woman prisoner: NHRC asks Assam Govt to pay Rs 1 lakh
NEW DELHI, August 27: Taking a serious note of the death of a pregnant woman prisoner in Dibrugarh jail due to denial of timely and requisite medical treatment, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Assam Government to pay an immediate interim relief of Rs 1 lakh to the dependents of the victim, reports UNI. NHRC sources told UNI today that the Commission has also asked the state government to recover the amount from the delinquent public officers for failure to perform their duties resulting in the death of undertrial Dipali Das as it imposed primary liability on them It also called for initiation of departmental action against the officials for gross negligence and dereliction of duties. The Commission said that criminal proceedings, as may be appropriate under the circumstances should be initiated against the errant public officers responsible for causing the death of a young woman. Taking cognisance of the report of the Deputy Commissioner of Dibrugarh about the death of 30-year-old Dipali Das in the district prison on April 1, 1997, the Commission gave these directions and asked for a compliance report within four weeks. Dipali, was under treatment in the Assam Medical College, Hospital, (AMCH), Dibrugarh from February 25. She was subsequently hospitalised there as advised by the jail doctor on March 25, but expired on April 1, the report said. The magisterial inquiry, post-mortem and inquest reports sent by the Assam Government revealed that the victim was arrested under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on January 5. When medically examined on admission to jail, Dipali was found to be one month pregnant. She was treated for drug withdrawal symptoms in the jail. However, on February 24, 1997 she complained of vaginal bleeding. The jail doctor found no evidence of bleeding, but referred her to AMCH to exclude the possibility of incomplete abortion. She was prescribed antibiotics and 50 tablets of duvadilan. The medicine was purchased and given to the warden of the female section to be administered to Dipali. But the medicine was not taken properly and regularly, which if had been taken regularly would in the normal course have prevented an abortion, the report said. (United News of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 28, 2000)
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Centre considering move to raise 2nd IRB in Nagaland
KOHIMA, August 27: The Centre is seriously considering the Nagaland government's proposal to raise the second India Reserve Battalion (IRB), an elite striking force, in the state, reports PTI. Union Home Minister LK Advani, in a letter to state Home Minister Neiphiu Rio, informed the Nagaland government that its proposal for sanctioning another IRB was being considered. Copies of the letter were made available to newsmen on Friday. Appreciating the Centre's concern for Nagaland, Rio in a letter to Advani said, "Your concern for the people of Nagaland and the gesture in accepting the proposal of the state government for sanctioning the second IRB for the state was appreciated by all." Proportionate representation to all tribes in Nagaland would be maintained while recruiting for the second battalion, the state Home Minister told newsmen while making available copies of both letters to the media. The first IRB was raised in Nagaland last year. The Centre bears the entire expenditure of the elite striking force raised to cope with any insurgent activity in the state, where a ceasefire was on between the Centre and NSCN(IM) at present. The force comprises around 800 personnel. (Press Trust of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 28, 2000)
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'Woman of the year' conferred on Lamdan rape victim
IMPHAL, August 28: Mashiru Kabui who fell prey to the clutches of some lecherous CRPF personnel during a search operation at Lamdan village was felicitated by conferring the "Woman of the Year" title on her today. The title was conferred in recognition of her daunting courage in taking up a firm stand against the perpetrators of crime against women during the second anniversary celebrations of the United Peoples Front, UPF, Manipur today. The function was held at the indoor stadium at Singjamei Leishangthem Leikai. Chairman of Hill Areas Committee, C Doungel was the chief guest, president of the UPF, advocate K Ratan was the president and ex-minister, and Mohammad Muhamuddin Shah was the guest of honour during the function. Exchange of gifts and presents between hill and plain people, who have lived together in the state since time immemorial, marked the main celebration of the anniversary. All those present reaffirmed their inalienable relationship and took pledge to fight unitedly against the forces of disintegration. The chief guest of the function also released the first issue of the UPF's monthly magazine "Eikhoigee Panthung" during the function. (Matamgee Yakairol, E-Pao; Imphal; August 29, 2000)
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Indo-Burma talks to check ULFA, drugs start
NEW DELHI, August 28: In yet another move to curb the activities of the ULFA, Union home secretary Kamal Pande is visiting Myanmar to attend the seventh national-level meeting between the border authorities of both the countries from August 28 to 31. The talks will be on peace and curbing of illegal activities along the border including curbing of narcotics and drug trafficking. The rebels of Northeast, like other outlawed organisations of the world, mint money by indulging in trafficking of drugs and narcotics. The Indo-Burma border facilitates such illegal trade. The meeting is being held in Myanmar capital, Yangon, and Pande is leading an India delegation with an agenda to curb all illegal and "negative" activities detrimental to the interests of India including "transborder movement of insurgents" with a clear reference to militants from Assam and other parts of NE, besides "other nefarious activities". The Myanmar delegation is being led by Brig. Gen. Thura U Myint Maung who is the deputy minister of home affairs of the Myanmarese government. (Correspondent; The Northeast Daily; Guwahati; August 29, 2000)
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Lamyanba, AMSU deny UG link
IMPHAL, August 29: The Lamyanba Pakhang and All Manipur Students Union, AMSU have denied links with any underground outfit. Lamyanba Pakhang has clarified that the organisation has no relationship whatsoever with any outlawed organisations and added that Lamyanba Pakhang is an organisation committed to nurturing the sport talents of the budding sportspersons of the state. The organisation, in a press release today stated that it has played a significant role in reviving the game of polo which has its roots in the state. Lamyanba also said that it is a registered body and lawful organisation. In response to the charges levelled by the proscribed Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, KYKL (O), the AMSU has also said that it does not have any link with the banned United National Liberation Front, UNLF. All students in the state are ordinary members of the AMSU, a statement said ruling out any idea of having link with the banned organisation and even the political parties. The student body has expressed shock to learn that the KYKL (O) has threatened to strike out against some members of the AMSU alleging them of keeping link with the UNLF. It has appealed to the KYKL (O) not to tarnish the image of the student body. AMSU is a pressure group, which has been working for the welfare of the students and people of the state since its establishment, the release said. The AMSU also expressed unhappiness to the ongoing bloodshed among the sons of the same soil. It appealed to stop killing among them. The student body will never establish any link with any banned organisation. It does not challenge the KYKL (O), the AMSU said. (The Sangai Express, E-Pao; Imphal; August 30, 2000)
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Army officer killed in Tamenglong ambush
IMPHAL, August 30: Capt Hemant Prem Kumar of 15 Jat Regiment was killed and two jawans seriously injured when militants ambushed their convoy in Tamenglong this afternoon. Two other jawans sustained minor injuries when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned due to the attack. Capt. Kumar died in the Army unit hospital. Commander of 59 Mountain Brigade, Brig. ID Singh, told The Telegraph that the Army team lead by the young officer was proceeding towards their battalion headquarters when militants fired from three directions near a Baptist church. Army sources claimed that the rebels had apparently fired from the church campus. The organisation behind the ambush is yet to be identified. A massive combing operation has been launched to nab the rebels. Tamenglong is a Naga-dominated district and both factions of the NSCN are active in the area. The attack coincides with the visit of Union defence minister George Fernandes here today. He discussed with Chief Minister Nipamacha Singh the overall situation and the security problems faced by the Border Roads Organisation due to militancy. (Correspondent; The Telegraph; Calcutta; August 31, 2000)
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NE rebels disenchanted, says George
AGARTALA, August 30: Defence minister George Fernandes today claimed several militant outfits in the Northeast were awaiting an opportunity to come overground. "The mass surrender of militants in Assam is an indication of the fact that the backbone of insurgency has become fragile," he told newspersons here. Fernandes, who arrived here today from the Nagaland capital of Kohima, said various parts of the region were witnessing a silent revolt against militancy. On the peace talks between the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) and the centre, the defence minister said, "It is an ongoing process. In spite of certain problems, we hope to arrive at a satisfactory solution to the Naga problem." Fernandes earlier held discussions with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Governor KM Seth and security officials. Asked whether Sarkar's demand for deployment of additional security forces would be fulfilled, the defence minister said the Centre was aware of the situation in Tripura and would taken "an appropriate decision" in this regard soon. However, Fernandes declined to specify whether the state government's demand for deployment of five Army battalions was being considered. Ruling out imposition of President's rule in West Bengal, the defence minister said, "We are not in a position to bring any state under President's rule for obvious reasons." (Correspondent; The Telegraph; Calcutta; August 31, 2000)
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Two injured in Tamenglong ambush under treatment: Army Captain succumbs to injuries
IMPHAL, August 31: Captain Hemanta Kumar of 15 Jat Regiment who was seriously injured in the ambush at Tamenglong district of Manipur succumbed to injuries late last night, official sources said today, reports PTI. The two others who were also injured in yesterday's ambush were being treated at an Army hospital at Silchar in south Assam, the sources said. Suspected Naga militants had ambushed an Army convoy at Tamenglong Lower Ground area yesterday when Defence Minister George Fernandes was holding parleys with Chief Minister Nipamacha Singh and Governor Ved Marwah on the prevailing situation in the state, the sources said. No particular group or underground outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the ambush. Underground outfits including NSCN(IM) and united National Liberation Front (UNLF) are active in parts of Tamenglong district, the sources said. The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Leishangthem Chandramani Singh have strongly condemned the incident, the sources added. The sources said heavily-armed militants attacked an army patrol vehicle, which broke down at Tamenglong Lower Ground, about 147 km north-west of here, at around 10:30 am injuring two army officers and student. The encounter between the suspected Naga militants and army personnel lasted more than 20 minutes during which a local student was injured in the crossfire, the sources said. The incident occurred about an hour before the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, held parleys on the state's situation with the Chief Minister, W Nipamacha Singh, and Governor Ved Marwah separately here, the sources said. While the two officers - Captain Hemanta and Lt Ansman of the 15th Jat regiment - were taken to an Army hospital at Leimakhong, about 20 km north of here, by a helicopter, the student was taken to the Tamenglong district hospital. Army and other security forces from nearby areas rushed to the Tamenglong Lower Ground area and launched a massive combing operation. No arrest was made so far, the sources said. The ambush was the second on security personnel by suspected Naga militants in the past 30 days. Sources said that suspected Naga militants had ambushed an Assam Rifles patrol party in the Tadubi area in Senapati district on July 30 last, killing four personnel including the commandant of the third Assam Rifles battalion. The militants carried out Wednesday's ambush to make their presence felt in the state during the visit of the Defence Minister, the sources said. (Press Trust of India; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; August 31, 2000)
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NSCN(K) announces truce with NSCN(IM)
KOHIMA, August 31: The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) has declared a unilateral ceasefire to their rival faction NSCN(IM) for a period of three months from tomorrow throughout Nagaland. A release of the "government of the people's republic of Nagaland (GPRN)" issued by the "commander-in-chief Kholi Konyak said the NSCN(K) has once again reaffirmed the policy of forgive and forget among the Nagas. The Naga army has offered a three-month unilateral ceasefire to NSCN(IM) from September 1 in Nagaland, the release said. The "GPRN" declared the unilateral ceasefire, knowing well that the struggle for self-determination will be "parasitic" unless they were united. The Nagas should, therefore, leave no stone unturned to strive for complete cessation of hostilities among themselves. Unity is the only pivotal force for attaining permanent settlement to the Indo-Naga problems, it said. The leaders unanimously declared this offer since the Nagas desperately want peace and resisted fratricidal killing, by fulfilling the mandate of the Nagas. The masses should in the same spirit show efforts that could bring the warring brothers under one umbrella and then prepare for "one single settlement, the sovereignty of the Nagas," the release added. (United News of India; The Sentinel; Guwahati; September 1, 2000)
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