Centre sets terms for talks with extremists

Centre sets terms for talks with extremists

PC regrets focus on violence over development

“We made it very clear that we will not entertain any ceasefire from militant groups. Militant groups are most welcome to abjure the path of violence, lay down arms and come for talks,” Home Minister P Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha in response to a Calling Attention Notice on ethnic violence in the hill districts of Assam.

Referring to one of the militant outfits, Dima Halam Daogah (Joel group) offering ceasefire, Chidambaram said, “militant groups cannot offer ceasefire to a sovereign country... First abjure the path of violence, then we will talk”.

“They can form a political party and fight elections if they want, but first they should lay down their arms unconditionally,” he said.

The minister said the Centre has alerted Assam, Manipur and Nagaland governments that Naga militants are likely to take advantage of the ethnic tensions in North Cachar hills.

Maintaining that the Home Ministry was closely monitoring the situation Chidambaram referred to the North Cachar Hill Autonomous Council scam where huge amount of funds meant for development was being transferred to the militants.

The case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency, he said adding that the governor is looking after the administration of the Council. The North Cachar Hill District has witnessed ethnic tension between Zemi Naga tribes and Dimasas since March this year.

The Home Minister said the problem in the area has been accentuated by DHD-J group and the government had taken very strong action against the outfit.
The chief of the group was nabbed in Bangalore and one commander was neutralised while another fled.

Chidambaram said tribes of Zemi Naga and Dimasas were living together for many years, but later on intensification of inter-tribal rivalry resulted in many killings.
“It is sad,” he said, that instead of focusing on development, a significant number of these tribal people took to violence leading to killings.

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