Other States

Extremist outfit NSCN accuses armed forces of exposing Manipur villagers to COVID-19

It is against intrusion in the name of pushing out cadre from an alternative designated camp

The extremist National Socialist Council of Nagalim, better known as the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN, has accused the armed forces of exposing villagers of Manipur to the COVID-19 pandemic in the name of pushing out its cadre from an alternative designated camp.

A stand-off between the inhabitants of Kashung village in Manipur’s Kamjong district and troops of the Assam Rifles began on April 21. About 200 village women have since been vigilant against an alleged bid by the paramilitary force to eject the NSCN (IM) cadre reportedly staying in the area.

The village of about 500 people is 102 km from Manipur capital Imphal.

In a statement issued from its headquarters Hebron near Nagaland’s Dimapur town, the NSCN (IM) said the COVID-19 lockdown enforced in almost all parts of the world have not prevented the Assam Rifles and Manipur police from trying to “throttle” its members “on the pretext that there is no Indo-Naga ceasefire” in the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur.

The ceasefire, signed in July 1997, is said to be applicable only in Nagaland, although there is no clarity on its geographical extent. The NSCN (IM)’s concept of a Greater Nagalim covers Naga-inhabited areas of the adjoining north-eastern States, which want to be left out of any settlement with the outfit.

The NSCN (IM) claimed that Lt Gen (retired) R.V. Kulkarni, the former chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group, on Februay 6, 2007, approved the Kangkhui-Shirui forest as a designated camp of the outfit. But the camp, not far from Kashung village, had to be shifted out of the forest area, it said.

“The intrusion of the armed forces into the Kashung-Bungdung areas that are strictly abiding by the COVID-19 protocol has put the villagers at great risk of exposing them to the possibility of asymptomatic coronavirus carriers. Such a blatant violation of COVID-19 protocols when the whole world is grappling with the spread of the pandemic is nothing but highly irresponsible and condemnable by all who share the fear of what is happening to the world today,” a spokesperson of the outfit said.

The United Committee Manipur (UCM), opposed to any ceasefire deal with the NSCN (IM) beyond Nagaland, has questioned the outfit’s claim that it was allowed to set up a designated camp in Manipur.

“The Centre should reveal the truth behind this reported deal that is provocative. If it is true, the Centre has been deceiving the people of Manipur for a long time since 2007,” a spokesperson of the UCM said.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 4:36:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/extremist-outfit-nscn-accuses-armed-forces-of-exposing-manipur-villagers-to-covid-19/article31460392.ece

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