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Manipur: Assam Rifles-NSCN-IM stand-off continues

K Anurag in Manipur | January 29, 2009 14:54 IST

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The Assam Rifles has thwarted an attempt by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah rebels, who are in truce with the security forces, to set up a designated camp near the Siroy village in Ukhrul district of Manipur, even as the stand off between the Naga rebels and the Assam Rifles personnel continued in the area.

A source in the Assam Rifles informed that on the information regarding presence of armed cadres of NSCN-IM in Siroy village area, Assam Rifles troops reached the location and cordoned the area on Jananuary 19, blocking all entry and exit routes to the area where the Naga rebels were holed up.

Tension ran high in the area as people apprehended that a gun battle between the NSCN-IM cadres and Assam Rifles jawans.

As Assam Rifles jawans stayed rooted to their positions surrounding the location of NSCN-IM cadres, the NSCN-IM was forced to request for safe passage to its cadres out of the area on January 23.

Assam Rifles agreed to consider the request in the interest of peace and tranquility in the area. But the condition was that the rebel cadres should move with their arms to any other designated camps of the outfit.

But NSCN-IM authorities said they would not move to any of their designated camps and their cadres would move to another village with their arms, ammunition and explosives.

Assam Rifles refused to accept the proposal. "NSCN-IM armed cadres if allowed to remain in these areas will affect the security situation, and hence it cannot be permitted. The cordon of the armed cadres will continue till they either surrender their weapons and leave the area or move to any of their designated camps along with their weapons," a statement issued by the Assam Rifles said.

There are three designated camps in Manipur for NSCN-IM as "camps taken note of" by the govt. These are Bonning in the Senapati district, Ooklong in the Tamenglong district and the Phungchong in Chandel district. Movement of armed cadres is not permitted to any other area.

NSCN-IM tried to establish new camps earlier as well, which was not permitted. In 2007 they tried to establish a camp in Siroy which was destroyed. Recently they once again tried to establish new camp at Khumbi near Phungyar, but even that was removed by the army after removing the rebel cadres.

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