TODAY -

Posers over Siroy stand off
- Sangai Express Editorial :: January 21, 2009 -



The sense of panic, anxiety and fear felt by the people of Siroy village, located about 20 kms from the district headquarters of Ukhrul, following the stand off between the Assam Rifles and cadres of the NSCN (IM) is understandable.

Not a very big village but a significant place, Siroy village with about 100 households is home to the one and only Siroy Lily and has thus found a name for itself on the global map.

The camp of the IM group, which is reportedly the half constructed Tourist Lodge, is bang in the heart of the village and any shoot out or encounter that may follow will have a catastrophic impact on the villagers.

At the risk of hazarding a guess, we would say that the IM cadres holed up in that camp must be armed to the teeth and we can imagine the consequences if the confrontation takes a turn for the worse.

Reports received from the village also say that the villagers have been advised not to tend to their fields. With the Assam Rifles yet to come out with an official statement on the situation and the circumstances leading to the stand off, we have published whatever little information that we could cull from our local contacts and this has without a doubt led us to suspect that there may be something bigger than just the question of a camp or armed cadres of the rebel group staying at a particular place.

The NSCN (IM) cadres have maintained that they would not budge as the camp at Siroy is a designated camp and it was shifted there from Phungyar two years back and it was in the knowledge of the Assam Rifles all this while. The question then is why should the Assam Rifles suddenly find it necessary to crack the whip and order the IM guys to move out and surrender their weapons ?

It may be just a mere co-incidence or it may have some significant point, but it is important to remember that the Siroy stand off has come just a few days after the Pfutsero incident at Nagaland, wherein some Assam Rifles men including an officer of the rank of a Captain were over powered and their arms confiscated by the NSCN (IM) for 'intruding into their camp.'

That incident must have surely rankled the top bosses of the Assam Rifles and punctured their pride too. Given this circumstance, can there be a connect between Pfutsero and Siroy ?

Or is this too speculative and would amount to shooting in the dark ? We leave it to the intelligence of our readers to decide.

On the other hand, the stand off has also exposed how Manipur has come under the cease fire pact between New Delhi and the NSCN (IM). How can there be a designated camp of the IM group in a State which is not officially covered by the cease fire agreement between the two entities ?

The Union Home Ministry must answer this question. It is also time for the State Government to acknowledge the reality and apply the right pressure on the Centre to clear things up before things take a messy turn. We would also like to question what the district administration of Ukhrul is doing at the moment.

For the sake of the people of Siroy and the adjoining villages, we hope the matter is settled amicably, but at the same time, questions need to be raised why and how a so called designated camp of the IM group was allowed to come up in Manipur in the first place.





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