Siroy crisis blows over; IM cadres given safe passage
PC arriving
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 02 2009: The Siroy crisis has finally blown over with the NSCN (IM) cadres, who were holed up there in a camp since January 19, finally availing the free passage granted by the Assam Rifles as a one time measure.

On the other hand Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is scheduled to arrive at Imphal tomorrow at 9.10 am on an Indigo flight from New Delhi to review the law and order situation as well as in connection with the Siroy stand off, said a reliable source while talking to The Sangai Express.

The source added that the Home Minister who will be here on a three hour visit will attend a Special Headquarters Meeting during which he will meet the Governor, Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers and officials.

AR troops cordoning the IM camp at Siroy before the withdrawal agreement was struck

Chidambaram will be accompanied by the Home Ministry's Joint Secretary for North East, Navin Verma.

The Siroy crisis started from January 19 morning, when troops of 17 Assam Rifles surrounded the camp of the rebel group and asked them to vacate it on the ground that the cease fire is not in force in Manipur.

On the other hand, the NSCN (IM) had been adamantly maintaining the line the camp was shifted to Siroy from Phungyar more than two years back with the full knowledge of the Assam Rifles authority.

The IM cadres finally left the camp at Siroy after a series of negotiations which also included the Centre.

According to a source in the Ukhrul police, the NSCN (IM) cadres, numbering 25 left the Siroy camp at 9.30 am along with their arms and added that the arms were not deposited with the Assam Rifles.

Assam Rifles spokesman, Major Shamser Jung said that the NSCN (IM) camp has been moved from Siroy to an approved camp.

He however refused to say where the approved camp is located.

Even today Assam Rifles extended humanitarian aid to the IM men with food and water, said the spokesman and added that the Assam Rifles troops have not been withdrawn from Siroy as it is their operational area.

Our Ukhrul correspondent reports that the NSCN (IM) cadres were escorted upto Senapati by the Assam Rifles.

Some AR personnel are still stationed at Siroy, though Ukhrul police said they left the village at about 3 pm.

Even as the Siroy impasse was being resolved dharnas were held at different parts of the State for a peaceful resolution to the matter.

A dharna was held at Senapati bazar today.

Representatives of the UNC, ANSAM, SDSA, NPMHR, NWUM and students and faculty members of Mount Everest College took part in the dharna.

A similar dharna was also held at Tagaramphung village which was attended by representatives of Thangal Union, Thangal Women Union, Thangal Students' Union etc.

Dharnas were also staged at Tamenglong and Chandel.

For the last 16 days, since the AR troops cordoned off the camp of the IM cadres on January 19, tension has been running high at at Siroy village.

Womenfolk, apart from keeping 24 hours vigil to avert the outbreak of any clashes between the two parties, had also placed themselves between the IM camp and the Assam Rifles who had set up a bunker just opposite to the camp of the rebel group.

Though the Assam Rifles authority had earlier granted free passage as a one time measure to the NSCN (IM) cadres holed up in the camp, the rebel group had insisted that they would leave for another place where they can open a camp in Ukhrul district.

This was turned down by the Assam Rifles on the ground that the cadres are not allowed to move in civilian areas with arms.

Moreover Manipur does not come under the ambit of the ceasefire pact between Delhi and the IM group and hence no designated camp can be opened here.

To defuse the situation a number of Naga civil society organisations, including the Naga Hoho, Naga Students' Federation, ANSAM etc has sent their representatives to Siroy village.

Taking a serious view of the situation at Siroy, the Congress led SPF Government had also written to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister strongly reiterating that no camp of the NSCN (IM) can be set up in Manipur as the cease fire is not extended to the State.

During the course of the stand off, the Assam Rifles had also announced that there can be no designated camp of the NSCN (IM) in Manipur, though it admitted that it has 'taken note of' the presence of three camps of the NSCN (IM) at Bunning in Senapati,Oklong in Tamenglong and Phungchong in Chandel district.