Saturday, August 27, 2011

Northeast and terrorist updates (August 27, 2011)

1) Sadar Hills agitation:

The Manipur Assembly today adopted a resolution urging the state government to constitute a district boundary commission. As agreed upon by the members yesterday, the House adopted a private member’s resolution moved by Okram Joy Singh of the Manipur Peoples Party urging the state government to constitute a district re-organisation commission for Manipur. As members, including chief minister Ibobi Singh, had agreed to constitute such a commission during yesterday’s discussion on Sadar Hills district creation issue, the Assembly passed the resolution today. While moving the resolution, Joy Singh said reorganisation of district boundaries for effective and efficient administration was necessary.

Members, including Ibobi Singh, yesterday felt the need to reorganise district boundaries and creation of more districts for administrative efficiency and better delivery system. Ibobi Singh had yesterday appealed to the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee to call off the blockade imposed since July 31 midnight and to the United Naga Council that had called another blockade since August 21 against division of land of the Nagas while creating Sadar Hills. He promised to take a decision after receiving a report from a high-level official committee constituted to look into the proposed Sadar Hills issue. Despite the appeal, the blockades are on. Two more hunger strikers were admitted to hospital last evening. With this, the number of hunger strikers supporting of the Sadar Hills district demand admitted to hospital went up to seven.

Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh also assured the House that his cabinet would discuss the possibility of re-introduction of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in the state. The House took up the issue after CPI’s N. Mangi Singh moved a private member’s resolution seeking re-introduction of the Inner Line Permit system, a procedure adopted by the then princely state of Manipur to levy taxes from foreigners visiting the state. The system was abolished in 1950 after Manipur’s merger with India in 1949. Even though the resolution was not passed, Ibobi Singh promised to discuss re-introduction of the system with the cabinet, take a decision and approach the Centre with the proposal of restricting inflow of migrants and foreigners to protect the identity of the ethnic communities. The chief minister said there was possibility of migrants and foreigners coming and settling at Jiribam in neighbouring Assam, Moreh in Chandel and Motbung in Senapati district. Members, both from the ruling and Opposition benches, expressed concern about the state’s future as the number of outsiders has increased to 7,05,488, outnumbering the indigenous population, which is 6.72 lakh.

Intra-faction feud in NSCN: Linky

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khole) has warned of attacks on the rival Khaplang group if it continued to harbour other militant outfits. In a statement, the NSCN (Khole) has accused the NSCN (K) of providing shelter to other outfits of the region at Suruhoto designated camp in Zunheboto district. The Suruhoto camp is the only one which is still controlled by NSCN (K) cadres. Sources said there are over 100 cadres in the camp headed by “commander Lt general” Niki Sumi. The Khole group said the camp was being used as a transit camp for the recently formed North East Joint Forces Alliance which include Ulfa, UNLF, PLA, NSCN (K) and many other outfits.
The Assam Rifles and India Reserve Battalion personnel are patrolling the area to avoid confrontation between the two factions. Sources said Khaplang had sent more cadres to Nagaland from Myanmar to rescue his cadres holed up at Suruhoto camp.

SoO with Kuki group (from SATP):

Government extends SoO with Kuki militants by another year. Kanglaonline reports that a meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group of Suspension of Operation (SoO) has approved the extension of the agreement by another year on August 11, which had been approved earlier by the state cabinet during a recent meeting. The meeting was held at the Officers’ Club 1st Manipur Rifles under the chairmanship of the state chief secretary DS Poonia.

Meanwhile, the uber-representative of all things Naga, NSCN(IM), cannot be too far off: Linky

Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh told the Assembly today that the NSCN (I-M) was planning to attack elected members of the Autonomous District Councils and urged the Centre to employ the National Investigation Agency to probe the recent “terrorist” activities of the Naga militant group in the state. The chief minister blamed the rebel outfit for the blast at Sangakpham bazar of Imphal East on August 1, in which five persons, including two schoolgirls, were killed and eight more were injured. One of the five killed was a rebel of the NSCN (I-M), identified as Anthony Kamei, from Churachandpur district.
Though the NSCN (I-M) had denied any hand in the Sangakpham blast, Ibobi Singh claimed that Anthony’s parents had confirmed that he was a member of the NSCN (I-M). The Naga outfit has never voiced it opposition to the councils, but Naga organisations are against constitution of the district councils in Manipur. Official sources said because of such threats, elected members, particularly of councils in Naga-dominated districts mostly stayed and functioned from Imphal. Ibobi Singh said investigations and inquiries have now revealed the NSCN (I-M)’s plans to attack elected members of the autonomous district councils. The chief minister also blamed the NSCN (I-M) for the recent attack on the convoy of Wungnaoshang Keishing, an Independent MLA from Ukhrul district, in which eight persons, including six Manipur Rifles escorts, were killed in April this year. “During my last trip to Delhi I raised the issue of terrorist activities of the NSCN (I-M) before the Prime Minister and the home minister. I urged both the leaders to let the NIA investigate the NSCN (I-M) activities,” Ibobi Singh said.

The only problem with that claim is that others, especially in Eastern Nagaland, do not agree: Linky

The Centre seems caught between the proverbial devil and the deep sea with the Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO) insisting on carving a state out of Nagaland. The demand gathered steam as a five-member delegation of the organisation called on Union home secretary R.K. Singh yesterday to iterate the contents of a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2010. The memorandum delves into the “unique” history of the Tuensang Frontier Area, which had a 35-member regional council before it merged with the state of Nagaland. “The state government was (recently) ready to give an autonomous council but we want statehood or we can discuss at least a Union Territory. But we cannot discuss details in the media,” Khoiwang Konyak, a senior leader of the ENPO and former president of Konyak Union, told this correspondent after the meeting.

Division of four Nagaland districts, three of which border Myanmar, is fraught with the risk of attracting accusations and starting off another conflict of interests in the Northeast. Again, not agreeing to a demand that has been put forth almost in the format of a referendum — every village council in these districts has signed the memorandum — may be seen as sheer injustice to backward indigenous communities. Agreeing to a separate unit will put a spanner in the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) demand for “unification of Naga areas”. Another division would also mean that Naga organisations in Manipur would raise their own demand. The United Naga Council in Manipur also wants a Union Territory carved out of the hill districts of the state. If one is given, the other will complain. “It is a complex problem and we are examining the demands,” a government source said.

Home ministry sources said fulfilling the demand could have an effect on other statehood demands in the Northeast and elsewhere in Telangana and Gorkhaland. The sources, however, conceded that the demand was strong not only in terms of agreement of all the people of Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire and Longleng districts but also for historical reasons. The nearly 8,000 square km area was part of the Tuensang Frontier Area of the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) till Nagaland was formed in 1963. Under British rule, the area was almost unadministered and was kept largely away from British Indian administration. Even after Nagaland was formed, the tribes in these frontier areas remained backward.

It took the ENPO to demand a state, following which the Neiphiu Rio government offered autonomy and increased reservation for the indigenous communities of Konyak, Yimchungrü, Chang, Sangtam and Khimniungan. These communities have complained that they are under-represented in the Assembly in comparison with their population. There are 20 legislators in the Assembly from the four districts. Last month, Rio called on home minister P. Chidambaram, urging the Centre to spell out its stand on the issue but the Centre lobbed the ball in the state administration’s court.

2) In Meghalaya, the Garo-Khasi whinefest continues: Linky

The GNLA commander-in-chief Sohan D. Shira’s personal secretary Kakam D. Shira told the media today that the legislators of both the ruling and the Opposition should check the atrocities being committed by the ANVC. Shira also alleged that the ANVC members had resorted to secret killings as it was evident from the unmarked graves of innocent Garo youths killed by the outfit and buried behind the Tura Youth Hostel and Samanda camp in the East Garo Hills.

The government must investigate the use of hidden weapons by the ANVC since the beginning of the ceasefire, as dozens of Garo boys and adults who refused to accept the ANVC diktat, have gone missing. Some are buried in unmarked graves, the GNLA leader said. Though the ANVC was supposed to deposit arms some of the cadres were still holding on to them, the GNLA alleged.
The GNLA has also reacted strongly to the “quit” notice issued by the Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), currently under ceasefire, to Ulfa and NDFB. The ANVC, through its spokesperson, Torik Jangning Marak, has given 20 days to these rebel outfits to quit Garo hills. “We (Ulfa, NDFB, ANVC, and GNLA) are all organisations with the same goal; fighting for the cause of the people and indeed we help each other,” Kakam said. “For many years, Ulfa members walked around the soil of Garo hills but have never used the laws of their land here,” he said. “Who is Torik Jangning Marak to give such quit notices? He cannot even chase away the non-Garos coming from Bangladesh and illegally living in Garo hills.” “According to the Constitution, Ulfa and NDFB can stay anywhere within the Indian territory. Till now, their citizenship has not been disowned by the government of India,” Kakam said. He also alleged that ANVC chairman Dilash Marak has Bangladeshi citizenship under the name of Stephen. “Dilash Marak has a Bangladeshi passport under the name of Stephen, and in India, his name is Benjamin,” Kakam added. The GNLA representative said Torik’s irresponsible statement could lead to a communal clash.

For understanding the dynamic, see this related post on Understanding Meghalaya: Linky
GNLA has in a short time become a force to reckon with. Look at this statement: Linky

Guns are passé. A Meghalaya outfit has decided to take on the police force not with weapons but with baits of hefty salary for those willing to give up their khaki uniforms and join the guerrilla force. “We will offer Rs 20,000 per month to constables willing to join us. The monthly remuneration for sub-inspectors will be Rs 50,000. Moreover, there will be monthly increments,” said Kakam D. Shira, a representative of the Garo National Liberation Army and aide of commander-in-chief Sohan D. Shira. Kakam was responding to a police statement that the outfit was paying Rs 10,000-15,000 to its cadres.

SATP however disagrees with my belief:

Meanwhile, the State Police has established that the GNLA has been following the same strategy followed by other militant outfits to lure the unemployed youth of the State to join their ranks, reports Shillong Times. A senior Police official on August 14 informed that the GNLA were offering between INR 10,000 to INR 15,000 as salaries to encourage the youth to join the group.

And so does the Telegraph: Linky

Maoist rebels, who are trying to establish a strong foothold in Upper Assam and adjoining districts of Arunachal Pradesh, seem to be emulating the tactic used by Ulfa’s Paresh Barua group to lure young blood into its fold — offering cash incentives to fresh recruits. This came to light after the arrest of five Maoist rebels from various areas in Namsai subdivision of Arunachal Pradesh’s Lohit district on Wednesday. A police official today told The Telegraph that the Maoists had so far recruited around 25 youths from villages near the Assam-Arunachal border. “An incentive of Rs 2,000 is given to any youth who joins the outfit. We discovered this from the diary entries of one of the arrested rebels, Debojit Borgohain, who has confessed to being the training co-ordinator of the outfit,” sub-divisional police officer of Namsai sub division, S.B. Gohain, said.

In any case, this is what happened earlier: Linky

The self-styled deputy commander-in-chief of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) was among the four militants killed by security forces in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district today in the wee hours today. The deaths came after commandos belonging to the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the Meghalaya police attacked a GNLA camp inside the dense forests of Bolkinggre, about 4km from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills. The area is also located towards the south of the Simsang river.

When the attack took place around 1am, a heavy exchange of fire followed for nearly an hour between the six well-armed militants and the SWAT commandos. When the gun battle ceased, four militants were found dead while a police commando sustained bullet injuries. Among the dead is Roster Marak, alias Kagrim, a former Meghalaya police constable, who went on to become the “deputy commander-in-chief” of the GNLA. Marak was also the “area commander” of the central command of the outfit. The three other GNLA cadres were identified as Henithson Sangma, alias Jarongpang, Peter Momin, alias Bruno and Jekyll Marak.

Intelligence inputs suggest that the Anti talk faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-ATF) is assisting the GNLA in the planned retaliatory strikes.

There are some juicy tidbits on how this happened: Linky

The Opposition today asked the Meghalaya government to set up an inquiry commission, shocked by the revelation that the personal security officer of a legislator was allegedly used to infiltrate the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA). The state police allegedly planted their own men in the GNLA in an attempt to curb the nascent outfit’s depredations.
The Kharkutta legislator expressed dismay over the government’s strategy in tackling the GNLA. “If the report is true, the move was unwise because it has put someone’s life in danger. The family of the PSO might be targeted and in that case, the GNLA might even suspect me when I did not know anything at all,” Omilo told reporters.

More on HNLC numbers: Linky

Around 400 HNLC men have been arrested and have surrendered so far. According to the police, though the number of HNLC members has come down to around 50, those who are in Bangladesh are hardcore militants and can pose a threat to the people.

On taking on GNLA: Linky

The Centre has suggested use of helicopters for aerial support in flushing out militants of the Garo National Liberation Army who have set up camps in the far-flung jungles of Garo hills and remain unreachable. For dropping men and weapons on the ground and to airlift the injured, choppers will be of great help and this will boost the ground operations, the additional director-general of police (special branch), S.K. Jain, told reporters.
A police official said once the rebel camps were identified, aerial support to the ground troops could be ensured with the help of helicopters, thereby accelerating the ground attacks to neutralise the militants. “The use of helicopters is no way connected with aerial attacks. It is only to assist the men on the ground,” he added.

On the other hand, we have cross-border criminal activities, which none of the pro-HR nazis of the inhuman border fame will talk about: Linky

He said from 1947 to 1950, the western border of India and Pakistan faced ethnic riots and violence resulting in the migration of millions of people on religious grounds, whereas here in the Khasi-Jaintia and Garo Hills there was no such incident and no migration took place. “The drawback and delay in resolving the boundary dispute, however, has resulted in heinous crimes being committed by goons, who take advantage of such differences,” Kharshiing said. According to him, cases of violent attacks on local people of Lapalang by the Bangladeshi criminals had been recorded in areas near border pillar 1269-2S in August 1972, pillar 1270-3S in October 1976, pillar 1268 and pillar 1268-2S in 1980, pillar 1268 in November 1995, pillar 1269 in July 1998, pillar 1269-2S in December 2010 and pillar 1269-2S on August 18 this year.

3) UDLA: Linky

The Udla, which mostly operates in the remote south Hailakandi fringe areas bordering Mizoram, is a breakaway faction of the Panchuram Reang-led United Liberation Front of Barak Valley. Dhanya Ram Reang, who had parted ways with Panchuram a few years back, now leads the outfit. The outfit is alleged to be behind a number of extortion, kidnapping and terror activities in south Hailakandi and adjoining areas. There was a brief lull in its activities following the arrest of Dhanya Ram Reang in 2010. Dhanya’s brother Shishumoni Reang led the outfit while he was behind bars in Mizoram. The surrender of about 300 of its cadres and the army crackdown on the outfit had also reduced the might of the organisation considerably. But going by today’s incident, the outfit seems to have recovered considerably and is spreading its wings in adjoining areas too.


The Shillong Times on August 19 reports that the merger between National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) for united arms struggle has been virtually derailed, revealed Utpal Debbarma, ‘foreign secretary’ of Biswamohan Debbarma-led outfit (NLFT-BM). He further revealed that the NLFT still has a strong base in Bangladesh with five to seven hideouts operating and most of the NLFT leaders still live in Bangladesh along with their families but the outfit holds important meeting in Myanmar instead of Bangladesh while NLFT has no hideout in Myanmar. He said that he used to receive money from different construction agencies engaged in erection of barbed wire fencing, border road and development works in interior areas.

5) Guwahati a safe haven for Manipuri terrorists: Linky

“Preliminary investigation suggests that the group members are not only using Guwahati for shelter but are also trying to invest money in business activities here. We are trying to study the documents stored in the computers seized from them, find out the quantum of money and what sectors or business activities they were investing in,” a police source said.

So are Sikkim and Darjeeling: Linky

The National Investigation Agency has found out that the banned Manipur-based terrorist organisation, Kanglei Yaol Kaba Lup, has been using residents of Darjeeling and Sikkim to set up bases in the region. The NIA investigated the KYKL activities in the region and submitted a supplementary charge-sheet to the Darjeeling district and session court today. The supplementary charge sheet was filed by Lhari Dorjee Lhatoo, a special superintendent of police and the chief investigation officer of the NIA. The NIA took up the probe following the arrest of many KYKL members from the region in 2010.
Some KYKL members in the region had also been picked up by the NIA. “The self-styled army commander-in-chief and finance-in-charge of the outfit, Ningthoujam Tomba, along with Sonokhybam Memcha, Roma Chanu, Sorokhaibhem Menjor Singh and Kangunjam Rabi Kumar Singh, had been arrested from from Khaprail, Siliguri and other places since March 2010,” the source added. “During the investigation, it has also been established that Chirom Robert Meitei, Kongkham Tomba Singh, Asem Naoba Singh, Ch. Leishemba, along with the arrested man Ningthoujam Tomba, had entered into a criminal conspiracy to wage war against the state,” the source added. Chirom Robert Meitei was the information and publicity secretary of the outfit. While Asem, Leishemba and Meitei are absconding, the police had arrested Kongkham, who, however, is currently out on bail. “The local people need to remain vigilant so that they are not lured by such people into business deals,” the source said.

A good amount of funds sent to the Darjeeling-Sikkim region would be later funnelled to KYKL agents in Nepal. The money would then be routed to Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore to procure arms. With the NIA having submitted the charge sheet, trial against the nine accused is likely to start soon. “After the charge sheet is filed, a separate court will be set up for the purpose for the trial,” said a lawyer. Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, meaning “the organisation to save the revolutionary movement in Manipur” is a Meitei terrorist group formed in January 1994 following the merger of the Oken faction of the United National Liberation Front, the Meiraba faction of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, and the Ibo Pishak faction of the Kangleipak Communist Party.

6) DHD moves: Linky

The yearlong unrest in Dima Hasao might end soon as leaders of the primary troublemaker, the breakaway anti-talks faction of the Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) — Dimasa National Democratic Front (DNDF), laid down arms in a surrender ceremony jointly organised by Dima Hasao district police and the Indian army at Haflong today. Of the 27 members of the outfit, only 19 participated in today’s ceremony, while the remaining eight had allegedly gone out of the district to chalk out a post-surrender “strategy”. The surrendered cadres include two heavyweights — chairman Layung Dimasa and commander-in-chief Camera Dimasa.
As many as 10 cadres of the DHD-J, led by Bihari Dimasa, floated the DNDF immediately after the October 2009 surrender of the parent outfit. Two senior cadres — Layung and Camera — accompanied Bihari. The trio, who originally came from the mother faction of the Dimasa rebel outfit, had joined the Jewel Garlosa faction of DHD for ideological reasons. “We have left the path of militancy in the interest of the next generation. Now, we will launch a democratic struggle for our demand for Dimaraji”, Layung Dimasa told reporters after the surrender ceremony.

Bihari Dimasa was of course killed in action earlier: Linky

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