Siroy situation : AR ups pressure, stockpiles arms, bombs, headman petitions CFMC
Designated camp in Manipur against truce pact : PRO
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 21 2009: Piling up the pressure on the NSCN (IM) cadres to vacate their camp at Siroy in Ukhrul district as well as to surrender their arms, Assam Rifles have moved in additional troops as well as stock piled arms and bombs to face any eventuality.

The NSCN (IM) on the other hand has so far not shown any sign of capitulating on the ground that the Khusumung Battalion camp at Siroy is a designated camp and was shifted there two years back from Phungyar with the full knowledge of the Assam Rifles authority.

When The Sangai Express contacted the PRO of Assam Rifles today, the officer said that the siege was laid since January 18 after AR troops on regular patrol came across a number of temporary structures.

A graphic map shows the location of Siroy from Ukl Hqs

On closer scrutiny the AR troops saw men in camouflage and fully armed at the temporary structures and on inquiry learnt that they were IM cadres, said the PRO.

The siege was laid and the camp has been sealed, said the PRO and explained that this was done so because the cease fire does not cover Manipur and there can be no designated camps as such here.

Opening such a camp is in gross violation of the cease fire ground rules signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM), maintained the officer.

The NSCN (IM) cadres have been asked to vacate the camp as well as to surrender their arms, he added.

The PRO further said that the Assam Rifles have taken note of three camps of the NSCN (IM) in Manipur.

These camps are located at Moning in Senapati district, Oklong in Tamenglong district and Phungchong in Chandel district.

These camps are not designated camps, explained the PRO and added that they have been there for the past many years, before the cease fire came into force.

The cease fire pact does not allow the setting up of any camps in Manipur, he claimed.

Under the cease fire agreement, no NSCN (IM) cadres can move around with arms and ammunition.

When The Sangai Express reminded the PRO of the claim made by the NSCN (IM) that the 'designated camp' at Siroy was shifted from Phungyar two years back with the full knowledge of the Assam Rifles authority, the PRO refuted it and termed it as baseless and without any foundation.

To a query on whether the siege will continue, the PRO said that as of now the camp has been sealed and no one is allowed to enter it or leave.

"It is our right to demand that the NSCN (IM) cadres surrender their arms," contended the AR PRO.

Meanwhile local contacts informed The Sangai Express that no one has left Siroy.

On the contrary , a large number of women folk from adjoining villages like Langdang and Lunghar have descended on the village to keep a vigil and to persuade both sides to resolve the matter.

Our Ukhrul correspondent reports that the Assam Rifles have started using generators to light up the village and to keep a close tab on the camp where the IM cadres are holed up.

Sources said that 300 to 800 IM cadres could be taking shelter inside the camp.

Fearing the worst and to avert any gun fight in the village, the Headman of Siroy village Wungchangam and the Secretary H Ngachonmi have sent a message to the Chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Cell to resolve the matter at the earliest possible.

Giving vital inputs on the situation, the two village leaders said that the Assam Rifles troops surrounded the NSCN (IM) camp on January 19 and both parties are not ready to retreat.

Stating that a gun fight between the two forces may erupt any time, the two leaders urged the Cease Fire Monitoring Cell to act before it is too late.

The only solution is for both the parties to withdraw/retreat from their stand, their stand, said the message and urged that the either the Assam Rifles or the Naga Army are told to vacate Siroy village within 24 hours with effect from 12 noon of January 20 .

If this fails, then the villagers be given sufficient time to vacate the village in the interest of the innocent villagers, added the two leaders.