Delhi keeps an eye on Naga insurgents’ factional feud

May 11th, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by admin  

Kohima, May 11 (IANS) The feud between insurgent factions reached a high in north-eastern India’s Nagaland state with at least 25 people killed in less than a month, forcing the central government to rush senior officials to assess the emerging situation, authorities said Sunday. The bloody internecine battle seems to be on between the frontline Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN-IM and its break-away group formed last year called the NSCN (Unification).

The NSCN (Unfication) comprises a few leaders of the NSCN-IM, who broke away from gthe mainfaction to form the new outfit. The new group has a strength of about 100-odd cadres.

On Thursday, NSCN (Unification) cadres attacked an NSCN-IM training centre near Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial hub and currently the scene of factional battles. They killed an NSCN-IM member on charges of abducting a schoolboy a few days ago.

Things have become murky with the other major faction of the NSCN, headed by S.S. Khaplang, called the NSCN-K, now claiming to be the real and only NSCN.

“Things are bad. New Delhi must control the NSCN-IM cadres,” said Kughalo Mulatonu, a leader of the NSCN-K.

On Saturday, the union ministry of home affairs sent Naveen Verma, its joint secretary for north-east, to Dimapur to assess the situation.

Verma and his team of state government officials and the chairman of the ceasefire monitoring committee, Lt. Gen. (retd) K. V. Kulkarni, met NSCN-K leaders to clear the confusion about the status of the new group, the NSCN (Unification), to work out measures to honour the ceasefire ground rules and halt the clashes.

The factional clashes have rocked the state despite the two major groups, the NSCN-IM and the NSCN-K, despite a ceasefire accord with the government.

The status of the new group, the NSCN (U, is not clear, and, therefore, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has sought direction from the home ministry on how to deal with it.

Rio, who heads the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government in the State, said the Central government’s delay in making headway in peace talks with the NSCN-IM and “lack of direction” by the home ministry have triggered unrest among the rebel factions in Nagaland.

“The central government must demonstrate its sincerity in moving ahead with the peace talks with the Naga groups. Its delay has complicated matters and has multiplied the problems,” said Rio.

Hopes for peace first emerged after New Delhi reached a ceasefire agreement with the NSCN-IM, which has been seeking an independent Naga homeland, in August 1997. Peace talks are on with the group since then, but a solution is not in sight yet, making Naga cadres restive.

The NSCN-K too entered into a ceasefire agreement with the central government in 2001, but unlike the rival NSCN-IM, it has not started any peace talks with the government.

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