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Centre may take ‘wanted’ Naga leader Niki Sumi’s ceasefire offer

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned the NSCN-K led by S.S Khaplang in 2015 after the Chandel ambush.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

The Union government is likely to accept NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang) leader Niki Sumi’s offer to revive the ceasefire agreement and the anti-terror cases lodged against him would be dealt with appropriately, a senior government official said.

Security agencies have worked on Sumi’s return to India with an eye on concluding the Naga peace deal.

The development comes ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Manipur and Assam on December 26-27.

Sumi is wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for allegedly planning the attack on an Army convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district on June 4, 2015. As many as 18 army personnel were killed in the ambush carried out by NSCN-K cadres who came from Myanmar. He carries a reward of ₹ 10 lakh on his arrest. The attack preceded the NSCN-K’s decision to unilaterally abrogate the ceasefire with the Centre in March 2015. Sumi was expelled from a Myanmar-based camp of the NSCN-K in June last, following which Indian security agencies have been trailing him. He floated a new outfit on December 18.

A statement signed by Sumi and issued on Wednesday said, “NSCN/GPRN has been striving all these years to achieve an honourable and acceptable political solution to the Naga issue. NSCN/GPRN is also conscious of the overwhelming sentiments among the Naga people for an early solution to this long standing issue.”

The official said, “If Sumi has to join the peace talks, then it is imperative that he agrees to a ceasefire pact with the Centre. This is one of the prerequisites of him coming to the dialogue table. The Naga peace deal has been lingering for decades.”

National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang leader Niki Sumi. File

National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang leader Niki Sumi. File  

 

When asked about the terror cases against Sumi, the official said, “the Centre will take a measured view but this is not the first time that cases will be dropped against a wanted person who has agreed for a peaceful solution.”

Ban in 2015

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned the NSCN-K led by S.S Khaplang in 2015 after the Chandel ambush.

On September 10, 2015, the NIA said in a statement, “S S Khaplang is head of the NSCN (K) group and Niki Sumi is holding the charge of armed wing of said group. They were closely associated with the decision to attack Assam Rifles personnel at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima, on March 26 and subsequent string of attacks on armed forces, including the attack on 6 Dogra Regiment Convoy in Chandel district of Manipur on June four killing 18 Army personnel."

Khaplang, a Hemi Naga from Myanmar who led the Naga insurgency movement for decades, died in 2017. He formed his own outfit in 1988 after he fell out with Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, the other two Naga leaders who went on to form the NSCN-IM, the group that signed a framework agreement with the government in 2015 to find a permanent solution to the Naga issue. Naga outfits envisage a “Greater Nagalim” or a contiguous land for the Nagas spanning over the States of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Myanmar.

NNPGs’ talks with Governor

Sumi, a resident of Nagaland, will likely be a part of the seven other Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) that are in talks with Naga interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R.N Ravi for the final peace deal. In October, the Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth ₹4.23 crore of Sumi’s wife Shelly N. Sumi in a terror funding case.

On February 12, 2016, the MHA submitted before a Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) tribunal that “NSCN-K is professed to violent activities; its violent profile is etched by violent activities after abrogation of the ceasefire which includes indiscriminate firing upon the personnel of Assam Rifles… The NSCN-K is in the process of mobilising its cadres from the Indo-Myanmar border under the direct supervision of Niki Sumi, its self styled Lt. General. Suspected cadres of NSCN-K have launched major offences against security forces, including the assault on its leaders and cadres of rival groups and upon business establishments in Kohima, Dimapur and Mokochung.”

G.K. Zhimomi of the Congress said, “it is good that Niki Sumi has come on board… if the Centre is sincere about the Naga talks, they should conclude it. However, it seems that everyone has become comfortable with the status quo, while common people suffer. We now hear that the final deal may be pushed to 2022 as Manipur goes to election that year.”


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 9:30:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/what-wanted-niki-sumis-offer-to-centre-means/article33412384.ece

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