IM-AR tussle heightens at Siroy
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Dimapur/Ukhrul, January 27 2009: THE 72-HOUR deadline to vacate from the Siroy village by both the Assam Rifles personnel and the cadres of NSCN-IM elapsed on Monday but the impasse over the Ukhrul village is even more charging up with both the hostile parties consolidating to their respective position with the NSCN-IM affirming today that the Naga outfit is determined not to "succumb to the anti-ceasefire politics of both the government of Manipur and the Assam Rifles" while the Assam Rifles authority has asked either the NSCN-IM to move to the outfit's designated camps or surrender their weapons and move out of the Siroy village.

Amidst this heightening tension the Naga frontal organizations including the Naga Hoho, the United Naga Council (UNC), the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) and others have rushed to Ukhrul headquarters today to take the first hand report and diffuse the situation.

This volatile and highly charged development has prevailed today at the backdrop of top ranking Naga Army personnel, the armed wing of the NSCN-IM during their three-day convention at Camp Hebron, off Dimapur on Monday "after minute discussion, taking due consideration of the prevailing deteriorating situation and in contemplation of the impending danger ahead, vowed to resist all forms of antagonism with renewed enthusiasm to safeguard the sacred cause of the Naga nation" .

Few days ago, the Union Home Ministry had reportedly directed both Assam Rifles and the NSCN-IM to vacate from the Siroy village to which 72-hour's time span was given and the deadline elapsed on January 26 .

Reasoning its stand, the NSCN-IM spokesman informed NNN tonight that they were all prepared to abide the Union Home Ministry's directive but "unless the government of India gives us a designated camp in place of Siroy, where do we go.

We will remain staying at the Siroy camp".

However, the Assam Rifles spokesman told NNN this evening that the NSCN-IM had requested the Assam Rifles authority on January 23 for a safe passage to go out with their weapons to which "we had obliged and as a one time measure we requested them to move out of the Siroy village so that peace and tranquility are ensured but the NSCN-IM cadres continue to remain there." The spokesman of the Assam Rifles added that the Army and the Assam Rifles personnel will continue cordoning the village unless the NSCN-IM cadres "surrender their weapons to us and move out or go to their designated camps.

The Assam Rifles spokesman further stated that moving freely with arms by the NSCN-IM cadres in the villages will create law and order problem.

"Our prime interest is that the armed underground cadres do not disturb the villagers," said the Assam Rifles spokesman.

Meanwhile, tension is fast heightening at the Siroy village with women folks continue to guard the village day-out and day-in to ensure that the arm clash between the security forces and the NSCN-IM does not take place.

The Naga frontal organization leaders will visit on Wednesday to take the first hand report and then endeavor to diffuse the charged situation.

Meanwhile, the NSCN-IM in a press note has said that when the 'Naga Army' of Kiusumong Battalion at Shiroi put their foot down in the face of the unwarranted confrontationist approach adopted by the Assam Rifles to forcefully evict the Naga Army it sent out an alarming message.

"The Tangkhul civil societies, particularly the women groups sensing the trouble was put in a state of alert lest the hard earned ceasefire is put into jeopardy by the Assam Rifles whose actions are turning out to be more of nuisance than anything else.

The message is also clear beyond doubt that the NSCN is never on the wrong side of the ceasefire ground rules.

But with Assam Rifles saying otherwise, and giving impossible conditions to the Naga Army to vacate the camp, the impending showdown with dangerous consequence was brought nearer to the door of the village," alleged the outfit.

The Naga outfit said that in such eventuality the women and innocent villagers will bear the brunt.

Not to allow this gunfire to boom again as experienced in the past and save the ceasefire that exist in Naga areas of Manipur (informally) the women of the surrounding villages awaken themselves to play the role of peace makers between the Assam Rifles and the Naga Army.

"Led by Tangkhul Shanao long (Tangkhul women organization) hundreds of women reached the spot to form a wall-like human structure not to allow the AR to cross.

Despite the chilly winter night the women of the Village like Hundung, Choithar, Langdang, Nungbi and from the Ukhrul town stay put in the camp area to face the war-like situation.

They have one object in mind, and that is, peace should prevail.

They know that political settlement through negotiation is the only way out and military confrontation they abhorred.

Their emotional and physical involvement in such manner certainly saved the day from going bloody.

With the government of India showing different colors in different occasions not doing enough to rein in the AR the Nagas are passing through a critical period where the nerve of the NSCN is being put to greatest test.

But the culprits shall be AR and not Naga Army," stated the NSCN-IM in a statement.