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18 lives lost to insurgency in 2009
Correspondent IMPHAL, Dec 29:
Published on 30 Dec. 2009 12:00 AM IST
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In Nagaland only 95 insurgency related incidents which claimed 18 persons occurred during the current year 2009 till December 21, according to a compiled data of the South Asian Terrorism Portrayal (SATP). Year 2009 has seen only 95 such incidents, claiming the lives of 18 persons till December 21 against 201 fatalities in 307 insurgency-related incidents in 2008, the report which combined sources of the MHA stated. Insurgents comprise nearly 59 per cent of total fatalities in 2009, with the entire number ascribed to internecine clashes. The SATP database indicates that nine insurgents were killed in 10 internecine clashes in the State, of whom six cadres belonged to the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Khaplang (NSCN-K), one to National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) and two to the relatively insignificant Naga National Council (NNC). All the internecine clashes were concentrated in three of Nagaland’s 11 Districts. While seven such clashes occurred in Dimapur, two clashes were reported from Wokha and one from Kohima. The Naga insurgency in India’s troubled Northeast has, over the years, lapsed into fratricidal turf wars, and trends in 2009 demonstrate a continuation of this trajectory, though the steady acceleration of violence since 2001 appears to have been dramatically reversed, analysis of the SATP stated. From a peak of 201 fatalities in 2008 - overwhelmingly resulting from fratricidal clashes between the various militant factions - fell to just 18 in 2009. Nevertheless, even at this diminished intensity, Nagaland retains its third place in terms of violence among the States of India’s troubled Northeast, behind Manipur (360) and Assam (336). Insurgents often break the cease-fire ground rules by frequent movement and encampment of armed cadres in civilian-populated areas. Such acts are almost continuous, but have been brought to prominent light on some occasions as a result of stand-offs with the SFs. On February 4, 2009, for instance, the Assam Rifles (AR) dismantled six unauthorised huts constructed by the NSCN-IM at Bade village near the group’s ‘council headquarters’ at Dimapur. Similarly, on March 4, AR personnel prevented the movement of two groups of NSCN cadres from Phiro camp in the Wokha District and another group from Mukalimi camp, towards Zunheboto, SATP quoting Union home ministry report stated. The report confirmed that a group of NSCN cadres had gathered at Kukiye village near Satakha. Again, on April 8, around 25-30 NSCN-K militants vacated Songsamong village near Longkhim in Tuensang District due to pressure from the AR. Further, on April 13, the AR forced an unauthorised concentration of some 15-20 armed NSCN-IM cadres to vacate the Ghaspani farm area and return to their designated camp at Hebron in Dimapur. Extortion, moreover, remains rampant across the State, with the various groups extracting ‘taxes’ and ‘levies’ on all residents and transients in their areas of domination. There is spillover of the Naga insurgency into territories lying beyond the Nagaland State borders. On July 28, 2009, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram expressed concern in Parliament over the violation of the cease-fire agreements by the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K elements active in the Tirap and Changlang Districts of Arunachal Pradesh noting that, “ despite cease-fire arrangement with insurgent groups, violations do happen and we have taken a grave notice of this.” Fratricidal violence between the Naga groups, in fact, carries over into the neighbouring State of Arunachal Pradesh, where the Assam-based United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the Manipur-based United National Liberation Front (UNLF) have also become party to area domination exercises by the NSCN groupings. ULFA and UNLF had reportedly aligned with the NSCN-K in its fight against the NSCN-IM for competitive recruitment in the Naga populated regions of the State. In one incident on March 12, at least four militants were killed during a clash between the combined cadres of the NSCN-K, UNLF and ULFA on one side, and the NSCN-IM on the other, in Tirap District. Again on March 13, two NSCN-IM militants and a cadre of the rival NSCN-K were killed in two separate factional clashes in the same District. On March 19, another clash between the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K occurred at Lapnam village in Tirap District. While some sources said two NSCN-IM The NSCN-IM also targeted political activists in the run-up to the Arunchal Pradesh Assembly Election held on October 13, 2009. Beyond Arunachal Pradesh, Naga groups, especially the NSCN-IM, continue to operate in the States of Manipur, Assam and Tripura. Parliamentary elections were held in Nagaland on April 16, 2009, and registered as much as 90.21 per cent polling in the State’s lone Parliamentary constituency. While the election was by and large peaceful, the NSCN-IM declared, “The NSCN/GPRN has nothing to do with the Indian elections and hence any provisions/clauses contained in the mutually agreed ceasefire ground rules cannot be held in abeyance due to conduct of Indian elections… therefore shall not have any overriding effect on the ceasefire ground rules by the code of conduct issued by the ECI (sic).” A new complication has now emerged in the trajectory of the Naga insurgency, with the intervention of a new player - the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) - in the State. Addressing the Chief Ministers’ Conference on internal security in New Delhi on August 17, 2009, Nagaland Chief Minister disclosed that “NSCN-IM operatives from the Muslim community have been maintaining direct or indirect links with extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) and other criminal elements suspected to be having links with terrorist organizations…. there is strong possibility of Islamic extremists establishing ‘sleeper cells’ in Nagaland by taking advantage of their contacts inside the State.” The actual ramifications of this evolving nexus are yet to be manifested in Nagaland, but this development will certainly add to the chronic headache the insurgency has given to India’s security managers for decades.

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